After a disastrous start to the season, things are finally starting to look up for the high-priced Brooklyn Nets.
For the first time since they were 2-2, the Nets are back at .500 (29-29) and climbing as the No. 6 seed in the watered-down Eastern Conference. They are now just 3.5 games behind Toronto for the No. 3 seed and home court advantage in an opening-round playoff series.
But even more than the numbers, as a team the Nets finally appear to be on the same page and believing in the system installed by rookie coach Jason Kidd.
On the season, Williams is averaging 14 points, 6.4 assists, 2.4 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game in 42 games for the Nets this season. Williams has battled ankle problems much of the season, but over his last 10 games has averaged 16 points, six assists, and two rebounds.
For the season, sharpshooter Johnson leads the team’s balanced attack at 15 points per game and, over his last 10 games, Pierce has averaged 14 points and five rebounds, including a recent six-game stretch where he netted at least 25 points on two different occasions.
Though Garnett has missed the last three games with back spasms, prior to being sidelined he was shooting 57 percent from the field since the New Year, while continuing to anchor the Nets’ suffocating interior defense.
In his absence, Kidd has turned to rookie center Miles Plumlee, and in a recent critical match against the surging Bulls, the former Duke star didn’t miss a beat, as the Nets held Joakim Noah & Company to just 80 points and forced 19 turnovers.