The Brooklyn Nets broke their 16-game losing streak and in that win, Brook Lopez surpassed 10,000 career points. Perhaps the West Coast “circus” trip could turn into a positive for the team.
Going into the game against the Sacramento Kings, the Brooklyn Nets were on a 16-game losing streak (their second-worst in franchise history) and had lost 27 of their last 28 games. With Jeremy Lin back in the rotation, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson playing at the four spot, and Brook Lopez on the verge of franchise history, the Nets rid themselves of the black cloud that was hovering over them and answered some questions in the process.
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The Nets have had trouble closing games this season, but in this contest, they never trailed. With five minutes left, Lin re-entered the game and passed his 15-minutes restriction, helping Brooklyn close out the game. Lin’s presence in this win cannot be understated. When he wasn’t making a difference on the court, he was visibly leading courtside, constantly coaching up his young teammates.
Speaking of the young core of Hollis-Jefferson, Isaiah Whitehead and Caris LeVert; their mentality and positive body language through much of the lows of the season are truly telling. They add credibility to Lopez saying this season is much different than the Nets’ franchise worse 12-70 season.
"“We have such positive guys who come in and really, truly put their work in, giving it their all. We’re leaving it on the floor. It’s a completely different situation. I think we’re happy that guys aren’t quitting. You can definitely see there’s no quit in us.” Lopez told Greg Logan (via NetsDaily)"
Lopez added that the difference between that season and this season is like “night and day,” and with this young core, the foundation of this new Brooklyn Grit culture, the feeling surrounding the team is indeed different.
Another aspect to keep in mind is that road trips are often good for team building. With Lin back and a few new faces, this road trip might speed up any chemistry issues from all the recent acquisitions and cuts.
"“We barely get any time to practice, so this is going to be really big for us to get back to our fundamentals, our principles. And I think if we do it right, hopefully it can be somewhat of a turning point in terms of turning things around and getting things headed in the right direction.”"
A win against the Kings definitely felt like some kind of turning point. With Lin back, running the offense, and seemingly able to now close out tight contests, another two or three wins on this circus road trip definitely seems attainable.
The team felt like they had something to play for going into the game against Sacramento, especially with Lopez hitting 10,000 career points. This team does not want to match a franchise-worst anything, so expect them to play to win every game like they have been doing.