As the victorious players made their way back to the locker room, their cheers and excitement were felt and heard through the walls inside Barclays Center.
"It felt amazing," Nets guard Bruce Brown said. "We were in Miami, we had a little team bonding event and then the vibe just changed. We can all feel it, feel it in the locker room and we know we're going to be here so it was just good for us to be around each other, learn more about each other, and it was just a great win for us today."
Brown, who had 19 points, 6 rebounds and d6 assists and played solid defense, was given the game ball after the win and noted that there is a much happier "vibe" in the locker room over the past few days.
"The locker room, it's just a great vibe in there right now," Brown said. "I don't know what it is, everything just shifted after the trade deadline. Everybody likes everybody, so it's just great."
The Nets traded away frustrated All-Star James Harden last Thursday to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two future first-round picks. Brown, who declined to provide more specifics about the team bonding event in Miami, was asked if the fact that everybody seems to be getting along better now meant that wasn't the case earlier in the season, but he demurred.
"Everybody liked everybody," Brown said. "We're just a little closer now."
One of the reasons the Nets are feeling so good is the way Curry and Drummond came into the starting lineup and made immediate impacts. Curry scored 23 points and helped space the floor for the rest of his teammates. After it was over, he said his mind didn't wander thinking about what it would be like to play with Kevin Durant (sprained MCL), Kyrie Irving (unable to play in New York City because of the COVID-19 vaccination mandate) and Simmons (reconditioning after being away from the NBA for over nine months), because he was confident it was going to work all along.
"I already knew," Curry said. "I didn't have to see what we did tonight to know the kind of style we'll play. We'll have so many weapons out there -- offensively and defensively. It's going to be a lot of fun to play. It's been a while since I got up and down the floor like that. And played with that kind of pace, even in the half court."
Nets coach Steve Nash tried to make Curry comfortable by running some of the same sets he ran with the Sixers.
"We ran some of the actions he's used to running," Nash said. "We also put him in a position to be himself. Not have to worry about a lot of things so we want him to just play, be uninhibited, we believe in him as a player and we don't want him thinking as much as we want him being aggressive and being himself, and he was great tonight."
Drummond, who had 11 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists, remains optimistic about the Nets' chances, despite the fact they've been struggling so much over the past few weeks.
"We have a great group of guys," Drummond said. "Guys that are missing right now, we got to wait for them to get healthy, but once everybody gets back I think we'll be very, very good and make a very good push in the playoffs."
After all the emotions of the past month, Nash was just happy his team was able to get back on track and remains confident the Nets will be rolling again soon when they get their full roster back.
"I think they deserved it," Nash said. "They deserved a win after this stretch. Played some really tough teams, been down bodies ... they've been of the highest character going through a stretch like this and bringing it every day so they deserved it."