NEW YORK -- New year. New attitude.
Small sample size, to be sure, but the Brooklyn Nets are 3-0 since the calendar turned to 2014.
“This group is playing with a lot of energy and effort,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “But I think the big thing is our trust.”
Exhibit A: Monday night’s 91-86 victory over the Atlanta Hawks at Barclays Center.
The Nets came out of the locker room trailing 52-46 after they were outscored 31-19 in the second quarter. But they ramped up the intensity on the defensive end of the floor and had themselves a huge second half.
It started in the third quarter -- yes, really. The Nets scored the first 14 points of the quarter and ended up winning it, 26-15. Atlanta’s 15 points were the fewest Brooklyn has allowed in any third quarter this season.
“We know the third quarters are sometimes the weak spot in our game, so we just wanted to come out and be aggressive,” Alan Anderson said.
In all, the Nets surrendered 34 points in the second half -- tied for the fewest points they’ve surrendered in any half this season (they also allowed 34 in the second half at Oklahoma City on Thursday).
Overall, the Hawks shot just 38.6 percent from the field Monday. Shaun Livingston held sharpshooter Kyle Korver to 1-for-5 from the field, while Jeff Teague had a season-high seven turnovers. Paul Pierce had his second consecutive three-block game.
“We’re understanding the system a little better,” Kevin Garnett said. “We work on it everyday. Jason talks about it every day, and defines it a little more. We know what we’re looking for. When we’re trying to get stops, we understand scheme-wise what we’re doing. And I think we’re better prepared. The effort is above average and that’s what we have to continue to do to get us out of this hole.”
As YES Network pointed out, the Nets (13-21) are now 12-1 when leading after three quarters, 11-2 when winning the third and 9-0 when allowing less than 95 points this season.
Sounds like a good formula for success. And, of course, who could forget about Kidd going tie-less since this all began?
“We’re undefeated this year, so we just want to keep that rolling,” Anderson said. “We know we have a couple tough games ahead of us, but like I said, we’re taking it one game at a time, one practice at a time and keeping it up.”