The Golden State Warriors thought they could overlook the suddenly-hot but still inconsistent Nets and come away with an NBA record in consecutive road wins, but the Deron Williams-less Nets had other plans. The Nets showed the poise and focus which Jason Kidd and the battle-tested veterans have been preaching all season.
Joe Johnson has become more vocal and determined to dominate in 2014. He is showing flashes of the old Johnson that got him that huge contract. It seems like the less star power is on the court with him, the more Johnson takes over when the team needs a lift. Brook Lopez and Williams are still All-Star caliber players, while Johnson’s time as a premiere shooting guard and All-Star has come and gone. With Williams and Lopez out of the lineup, Johnson has the green light to play his game the way he likes to.
As I look at the Nets roster, I see a team that has finally learned how to play as a unit. The bench has stepped up and is contributing on a nightly basis, while the starters still do most of the heavy lifting. Shaun Livingston has stepped his game up an made Tyshawn Taylor expendable in the Nets rotation. This group as a whole is focused on climbing out of the abyss and finding a new direction that involves fewer injuries and more victories.