- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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NEW YORK -- Asked what the biggest difference has been in his team’s play over the last three games -- all wins -- Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd did not hesitate.
“I would say the defensive side of the ball,” Kidd replied. “The guys are executing the game plan. They’re trusting one another, and I think they’re finishing with a rebound. That was something that we kind of struggled with in the beginning of the season -- finishing plays. Those guys in that locker room, we’ve asked them about doing different things defensively and they’ve done it. I think the trust factor on the defensive end has now led to the ball moving on the offensive end and guys getting shots.
“But the biggest thing was our health. Guys getting healthy and having Deron [Williams] out there helps. Being the team that’s getting healthy has been a big plus for us.”
D-Will's return is important but let's focus on defense.
Prior to their recent three-game winning streak, the Nets had been giving up 103.4 points per game and 46.3 percent shooting allowed. But during the streak, the Nets are giving up just 90.3 points on 40.8 percent shooting.
Since defensive coordinator Lawrence Frank was “reassigned,” the Nets’ defense has changed under Kidd. After allowing 224 points in their first two games post-Frank, Brooklyn’s D has settled in.
And for the first time in a long time, the Nets are playing sound and fundamental defense, using their length and clogging up the paint.
“I think the schemes, which we’ve changed from what it used to be at the start of the season to what we are doing now. They are very different,” power forward Kevin Garnett said. “They’re asking a lot of the bigs to do certain things night in and night out, but it’s been done with a better effort. We’re talking a lot. I think our biggest problem was communication and Jason just has us talking and communicating, yelling the schemes out and yelling the coverages. For the first time, I think in a long time, every guy is trusting the schemes.”
12dKevin Pelton and Chad Ford