The Brooklyn Nets have won back-to-back games for the first time since before they traded Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Irving’s final game was a demoralizing 139-96 loss to the Boston Celtics whom the Nets got revenge against in the first of these two most recent wins overcoming a 28-point deficit, the largest turnaround in the NBA this season.
Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie doesn’t want to see that become the expectation.
“You can’t get down 30 [points], especially not to a good team,” Dinwiddie said via the Nets’ official YouTube channel. “As great as it was to win that, we’d be fools to think that that’s a repeatable process. There’s a reason why we’re the only team to come back from 28 this season, right? But the carryover then to Charlotte, and really kinda stifling them on defense…that was more so what we should be proud of than the historic comeback. That establishes identity. And, basically, if we continue to carry over – we hold a team under 100 points or to 100 points – we have a chance to win every single night. And that’s any team”
Dinwiddie noted that they also held the Philadelphia 76ers well below their season average despite dropping the 101-98 affair. The 6-foot-5 guard followed a 17-point, eight-assist, three-steal showing against the Celtics with a 24-point, eight-assist, eight-board showing in the win over a depleted Hornets squad.
He has been open about his individual feelings towards defense.
Dinwiddie does boast the best defensive efficiency differential on the team, per Cleaning The Glass.
At any rate, his sentiments on the team’s defense fueling their success is not one he shares alone with fellow former Dallas Maverick Dorian Finney-Smith expressing similar thoughts even after snapping out of a personal scoring slump.
Nets Buying-In To Jacque Vaughn’s Defense-First Mentality
“When we get stops, we can get in transition and we get better looks,” Finney-Smith told YES Network sideline reporter Meghann Triplett after the win over the Celtics. “It’s hard to get them looks when we got to walk it up every possession. So, we get stops, it makes the offense flow a lot better.”
Finney-Smith had another rough go of things against Charlotte shooting just 2-for-8 from the floor and finishing with five points.
Thanks to his defense, Finney-Smith’s plus-23 plus/minus was the second-best mark on the team.
Likely to head coach Jacque Vaughn’s delight, the Nets’ other two new additions also share the same inclination towards defense.
Vaughn said he envisions All-Star and All-Defensive appearances for members of this roster.
“Once we kind of iron out those instances where you’re reacting a quarter of a second later, I think our defense will be a lot sharper,” Cameron Johnson said on the team’s YouTube channel after the win over Boston noting that he had several missed rotations as he’s gotten acclimated.”
Johnson’s fellow former Phoenix Sun, Mikal Bridges, certainly shares his coach’s high expectations.
“If we keep getting better, learning and growing together, I feel like we’ll be a scary team that teams don’t want to play against,” Bridges told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype after the Nets’ 116-105 win over the Miami Heat on February 15. “We’re going to have five guys at all that’s going to be out there defending and playing for one another.”
Up Next for the Nets
The Nets will get to enjoy their back-to-back wins with a day off before starting a five-game road trip bookended by the lowly Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. But they will also see the Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets – the top seeds in each conference – with the Minnesota Timberwolves mixed in.
Their once lofty perch in the Eastern Conference has been reduced to a 2.5-game advantage over the Heat for the six-seed.
They will have to trade lightly the rest of the way.