10. 2012-13 Brooklyn Nets
The New Jersey Nets faded away in the summer of 2012, making way for the long-anticipated move across the Hudson to become the Brooklyn Nets at their spacious new home, Barclays Center.
The Nets were coming off a 22-44 season in their lockout-shortened finale in Newark, but coach Avery Johnson — entering his third season at the helm — had some familiar faces to work with as well as some new talent.
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The big addition came when the Nets swapped half-a-roster full of players and three first-round picks to the Atlanta Hawks to get six-time All-Star Joe Johnson to pair with Williams in the backcourt.
Brooklyn also added some depth in European undrafted free agent Mirza Teletovic and veterans Jerry Stackhouse, Keith Bogans and Washington Wizards amnesty victim Andray Blatche, who provided a big surprise as a backup big.
The Nets got off to a strong start, winning 11 of 15 in November to open the year, but slumped badly in December and were just 14-14 after a loss at Milwaukee the day after Christmas.
That led to the firing of Johnson, with assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo named interim coach, a post he would retain for the remainder of the season.
The club responded well to the change, winning nine of their first 10 under Carlesimo — including seven straight to open the 2013 calendar year, and kept the momentum rolling.
On an off-day, March 21, the Nets clinched their first playoff berth in six years thanks to a Philadlephia 76ers loss to the Denver Nuggets. Brooklyn finished 49-33, their best record in a decade and matching the second-best mark since coming to the NBA.
They were 35-19 under Carlesimo and entered the playoffs as the No. 4 seed, earning homecourt advantage for a first-round meeting with the battered Chicago Bulls.
But after a Game 1 blowout at home, the Bulls bounced back to even the series heading back to Chicago. The Bulls won a low-scoring affair in Game 3, 79-76, and outlasted Brooklyn 142-134 in triple overtime in Game 4 to take a 3-1 lead.
The Nets bounced back with another blowout win at home in Game 5 and escaped with a Game 6 win at the United Center to force a Game 7.
The Bulls led 61-44 at the half and Brooklyn couldn;t quite climb all the way back, never getting closer than four in the fourth quarter.
Still, it was a terrific first season in the borough. Lopez returned from missing all but five games the previous season with a broken foot to earn his first All-Star appearance, averaging 19.4 points a game to lead the team.
Newcomer Evans wound up wresting the starting power forward spot from Humphries and averaged 11.1 rebounds a game, while Williams and Johnson were a potent force in the backcourt, combining to score 35.2 points per game.
Blatche put up 10 points and five rebounds a night in just 19 minutes per game and backup guard C.J. Watson hit 41.1 percent from 3-point range.
But Carlesimo was not retained and a monumentally bad trade the following offseason quickly threw things off the rails for the new-look Nets.