After suffering a 122-111 loss to the Detroit Pistons on February 9, the Brooklyn Nets had an honest conversation among themselves and it was made clear that a better defensive effort was needed. Since then, the Nets have won five consecutive games and they are currently one of the best teams in the NBA.
On Thursday, the Nets took on the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center and put up a great performance to beat the defending champions 109-98. The Nets now own a 19-12 record and they are the second team on the Eastern Conference standings.
"That [Detroit loss] was a low for us, and it did provoke some conversations and kind of a rededication to what we're trying to do," Nets coach Steve Nash said, as quoted on ESPN. "I'm proud of the way they responded since then, obviously we've taken care of business."
Kyrie Irving happy with the current defensive effort
After trading for 2018 NBA MVP James Harden in late-January, the Nets struggled mightily on the defensive end but their defensive has enormously improved over the last five games.
"It's about time we turn the corner defensively," Irving said with a smile. "No team is gonna win anything in this league if they don't get stops. It's about time. And we heard them loud and clear in the last few games."
Nets guard Joe Harris acknowledged that the Pistons loss was a low point and that they needed to look themselves in the mirror and ask some questions. "I think after our game against Detroit, obviously it was a game in which we struggled really badly on the defensive end and it was sort of, not a breaking point, but it just happened pretty repeatedly up to that point," Harris said.
"I think after that game just the level of focus, the attention to detail and the intensity on the defensive end has really ramped up." Irving scored 16 points, had seven rebounds and five assists in a win over the Lakers.
"It is scary out there when other teams are doing their best to stay in the game defensively and we continue to compound more offensive execution," Irving said. "We know that this doesn't happen often where you get a great collection of guys together that have been prominent guys in their roles on their respective teams and you've got guys coming off the bench that are starters for other teams."