What a difference from one night to the next for the Brooklyn Nets. After getting drubbed on Wednesday night by the Portland Trail Blazers by 44 points, the Nets looked like a different team on Thursday night in Denver against the Denver Nuggets.
Brooklyn steamrolled the Nuggets right out of the gate. They led 29-8 after the first quarter and cruised to a 112-89 victory.
Several players, including Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, lashed out after the game against Portland. The squad held a team meeting. Their play was simply inexcusable for a team that is trying to improve its record and climb the NBA‘s Eastern Conference standings.
The sort of effort, energy and focus that the Nets showed on Thursday was much, much better. That type of play will make them a difficult team to beat in the playoffs.
Deron Williams played with an extra bounce to his step. If he keeps playing the way he has been since the All-Star break, Brooklyn will be a significantly improved team. Shaun Livingston was fantastic in setting up his teammates and running the offense. Paul Pierce found his comfort zone and got every shot he wanted. The Nets’ bench played terrific. Heck, Jason Kidd may have never left the bench.
This was certainly an embarrassing effort by the Nuggets at home. Brian Shaw‘s team came out flat and could never make this a game.
After starting the season 20-18, Denver has been in a free-fall. They have gone just 5-14 in their last 19 games. They have been without their star player Ty Lawson for the last eight games, but their effort in some games has been simply unacceptable.
For Brooklyn, they are still recovering from their putrid start to the season. They are now 27-29 with a matchup at the Milwaukee Bucks looming before finally coming home again from their circus road-trip.
Several times this season Brooklyn has come out too flat which has cost them games. They currently sit in the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 27-29. The Nets will play four out of five games at home after facing the Bucks on Saturday.
Brooklyn bounced back with the type of effort that they will need to continue to show throughout the rest of the regular season. Denver played with the type of effort that will have them miss the playoffs for the first time since 2002-03.
For the Nets, this could be yet another turning point in their season.