The Brooklyn Nets are starting to unite.
After experiencing some growing pains in the beginning, they leave their longest road trip of the season so far with a perfect 5-0. In the process, Brooklyn has started answering pointed questions about how good his defense must be to compete at the highest level. His swing on the West Coast included wins over the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers, two teams near the top of the Western Conference standings that the Nets could face in the NBA Finals.
Brooklyn is coming home with their longest winning streak of the season, and they’re doing it without Kevin Durant, who continues to treat a hamstring strain and has missed Brooklyn’s last four games.
“We came here with a plan to be able to build something here in Brooklyn,” Kyrie Irving said after defeating the Clippers 112-108 on Sunday night. “I think for the moment, winning six in a row, all it does is keep the world quiet for a bit and then, you know, wait until we hit a bump in the road.”
Before the Nets started winning, their road was bumpy. They excelled against good teams, but struggled to beat the bottom of the league. Prior to this winning streak, Brooklyn lost by double digits to the Detroit Pistons. Nets players and coaches agree that it served as a turning point.
“We weren’t connected at all,” Irving said. “That was embarrassing. So we just want to continue to demand that standard of excellence.”
Now, the Nets are 12-4 against teams that are .500 or higher this season; According to ESPN’s Statistics & Insights research, that’s the best win rate (75%) in the league.
James Harden said he has seen a difference “day and night” in the toughness of the Nets since joining the team in mid-January until now. Harden said the team is “playing hard” and “playing smart” right now.
“We had a lot of frustrating losses,” Harden said. “We don’t want that to haunt us at the end of the season. So we decided, as a team, to collect it collectively, each individual.”
The Nets will look to extend their winning streak to seven on Tuesday against the visiting Kings, whom Brooklyn beat in Sacramento during the team’s trip west.