NEW YORK -- Mirza Teletovic may not have been the leading scorer in New York City Friday night, but he did have the best quarter.
It may have been 28 points fewer than Carmelo Anthony scored in his franchise-record setting performance 10 miles north at Madison Square Garden, but the Nets will gladly take it.
“I think it’s very important to know that all of the guys, when they saw I made the first two shots, you know, everybody was just like 'give him the ball,'" Teletovic said. “When you have teammates like that and they just create space for you, you know, it’s easy.”
The 28-year-old Bosnian sharpshooter, who ended up also hitting a career-high seven 3-pointers, went 9-for-11 from the field in the second quarter -- 6-for-7 from beyond the arc. He reeled off 11 straight points early -- and tied his previous career-high (19) a little over six minutes into the second period.
His confidence in his shooting is currently sky-high.
“I think that’s why they brought me here, and I’m just glad that I can bring it,” Teletovic said. “I’m trying to bring it like that every night, and it’s very important when I’m in the game to stretch the floor and I think I’m doing a pretty good job of that right now.”
Since Christmas, Teletovic is shooting 52 percent from the field -- 47.7 percent from 3-point range -- and averaging 12.6 points per game.
“It speaks a lot about him,” said Deron Williams, who scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half and added 11 assists to just one turnover in 35 minutes. “He was definitely frustrated last year with his lack of playing time. Mirza’s a competitor and he's been one of the top players in Europe for a long time. It was a little hit to his ego and he felt like he could contribute and help, so he really didn’t get that opportunity. Now he is, and he’s making the most of it, so I’m happy for him.”
Teletovic said he would be open to competing in the 3-point shootout during the All-Star break, and would contemplate wearing Drazen Petrovic’s jersey in the competition if he is selected. Drazen’s brother, Aco, is the head coach of the Bosnian national team.
Paul Pierce said it would “be a shame” if Teletovic isn’t selected to the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge.
“He’s been here a couple years now,” Nets coach Jason Kidd said. “He’s not a young player. He’s been a professional basketball player for some time, so the stage doesn’t frighten him, as you can see. It’s just his work ethic and his belief -- him believing in himself -- that he can play at a high level. He’s getting the opportunity to do that for us and his teammates.”
The Nets (19-22) are hitting the halfway mark of the season on a hot streak, having won four in a row. They are 9-1 since the New Year. Amazing considering where they were.
They are 7-0 when starting Shaun Livingston, Alan Anderson, Johnson, Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Their depth, with Williams anchoring the second unit, is showing. The Nets are rolling 10 deep right now. Aside from Garnett (10 points and 11 rebounds in 20 minutes, and shooting 67.4 percent in January) their starters didn’t really have it Friday night.
But with Teletovic firing the way he was, it didn’t matter.
“We feel good,” Williams said. “We’re not satisfied. We just got to keep going, keep winning and stay focused. we have to try not to have any slip-ups.”