ATLANTA -- Jacque Vaughn has the Brooklyn Nets believing they can win every time they step on the floor. The latest example of that belief came during Wednesday's 108-107 win over the Atlanta Hawks -- the Nets' 10th straight victory -- in a game where they trailed by as many as 15 and still found a way to keep the streak rolling.
"It is belief and that's a huge part of the NBA," Vaughn said. "Is the confidence and belief, no matter what situation you can come out on the other side."
Once again, the Nets came through the other side in large part thanks to some clutch shots down the stretch by Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The pair combined for 54 points and 21 rebounds, including a season high 16 from Durant, and 16 assists.
"When you follow the game plan and it works, you start believing more and more," Durant said. "I felt like we didn't have an identity to start the season, and then we started to figure it out these last few weeks, this last month or so ...
"We walk into every game believing 'All right, if we stick to this template, this structure that we have, we'll be fine regardless of what goes on in the game'... just knowing what we want to do every time we step on the floor keeps our mind at ease, and we'll have that belief in whatever Jacque tells us."
Vaughn's steady and positive approach continues to pay dividends for a team that has now won 14 of its last 15 games. Vaughn noted after Monday's win over the Cleveland Cavaliers that he simplified the messaging for the group and has cut down the amount of formal practice and shootaround days the Nets have. The decisions have paid off, and the players seem to be enjoying a little more time away from the floor.
"These little details that we're just aware of game to game, I just think that we're doing a great job of talking and communicating when we come to the bench," Irving said, "Jacque holding us accountable; him coming in as a head coach and really putting his own DNA on it. And us just following the game plan."
As the Nets head into the new calendar year, they do so enjoying their recent hot play and remain hopeful that even better days are ahead.
"I think the evidence is in the pudding," veteran guard Patty Mills said. "We've been able to show ourselves what we can do. And now it's just being able to be professional and have to be consistent with it, but we've proven ourselves, the way that we want to play on both ends of the floor."
The scary part for the rest of the league is that the Nets still feel their best basketball is ahead of them given they're still getting healthy and are locking even more on the defensive end.
"You want to have your best basketball ahead of you," Durant said. "You don't want to be peaking at this point. I think we see some stuff that we can obviously get better at, see some stuff that worked, but it comes down to the individual and how bad you want it ... we got a nice template like I said, a nice structure, but each individual got to keep bringing it every day and follow the game plan. I feel like all of us can keep getting better individually and bring that to the group as a collective."