Nets won't let skid get them down

The Brooklyn Nets haven’t been playing well of late, but Deron Williams remains upbeat.

“[You all are] not gonna bring me down by asking these questions,” Williams said after Saturday’s practice. “You guys can be negative. We don’t give a [expletive]. We don’t care.

“I’m good. I’m not frustrated right now. Last year, we were losing every game. It’s totally different this year. It’s a different vibe. We’ve lost three in a row and we know that we can play better. We can improve. Last year, we were playing bad and it was really hard to improve. It’s totally different.”

Defense has been the biggest issue of late. During their season-high three-game losing streak, the Nets have surrendered an average of 109.3 points.

“We need to get back to winning and playing defense,” D-Will said. “We need to get back to doing what’s made us successful. We haven’t been doing that the last three games. We’ve seen it in the film. It’s on us to change it. You can’t blame Avery [Johnson], Popeye [Jones], Mario [Elie], Billy [King], Mr. [Mikhail] Prokhorov, you guys, the fans. We’ve just gotta get better.”

Nets coach Avery Johnson wasn’t happy about his team’s energy on defense. He made that very clear during a film session -- which D-Will referred to as “bad” -- with his players.

“We have a lot of correctable errors,” Johnson said. “We just gotta get back to positive thinking, and know that the whole world doesn’t come to an end because we lost a couple games. We’ve gotta figure out a way to correct it, and teams that are coming in here don’t want to cooperate. We’ve gotta play. We can’t take possessions off.”

D-Will admitted the Nets are missing Brook Lopez’s presence in the paint. Lopez will miss his fifth straight game on Sunday night against the Milwaukee Bucks.

“It hurts. Him in the middle he takes up a lot of space, he’s been blocking shots this year. He’s been a big part of our defensive surge,” Williams said. “It’s no surprise that when he went out, we struggled a little bit.”

Johnson doesn’t think the Nets are going to look past the Bucks. Brooklyn faces the New York Knicks two nights later.

“We can’t overlook anybody," the Nets coach said. “This is our last chance. Our only chance. That’s the way we have to look at it. And no matter what happens Tuesday, we’re gonna have another game on Wednesday, that’s the way we look at it.”

The Nets have already had two five-game winning streaks, but they’ve also had a pair of two-game losing streaks to go along with their current three-game skid.

“At the beginning of the season, we talked about not losing two games in a row,” D-Will said. “We gotta get back to that. If we drop one, we have to be mentally and physically ready to get back and win the next one.”