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Sunday, December 15, 2013
Nets 'family' rallied around recent injuries

By Mike Mazzeo

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Going into the season, age and health were big question marks for the Brooklyn Nets.

Many figured guys would get hurt, but few had hoped those guys would be Deron Williams and Brook Lopez.

Yet that’s exactly the way it happened -- and the Nets struggled mightily as a result.

“It’s hard to win without Deron or Brook,” Nets reserve Andray Blatche said Sunday. “GM Billy King pulled this team together thinking all of us were going to be there together -- on the floor at the same time -- so I feel like when we’re healthy, we’re one of the best teams in the league.”

The Nets (8-15) won their last two games with both Williams and Lopez back in the lineup. Williams has averaged 20.7 points on 55.3 percent shooting over his past three games since returning to the lineup.

The Nets could’ve come unglued as the losses began to mount, but they didn’t.

“Our locker room couldn’t have been better as far as us guys staying together,” Williams said. “We never started pointed fingers; we never started blaming one guy or this guy or that guy; we knew we needed to play better as a team and we knew our energy wasn’t there as a team. So we had to figure that out and slowly but surely we’re trying to do that.”

Things have gotten a lot better.

“When you’re struggling, people are gonna start doubting and people are gonna start being negative,” Blatche said. “It shows a lot when you stay together and be a family no matter what you’re going through and that’s what we did. It’s starting to turn around. I feel it and I see it."