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Monday, January 6, 2014
Starting Five: Lineup change paying off

By Mike Mazzeo

Going small has paid big dividends for the Brooklyn Nets.

In their past two games, coach Jason Kidd has decided to start Shaun Livingston alongside Deron Williams in the backcourt, and move Paul Pierce to power forward.

Deron Williams
Deron Williams is playing his best basketball of the season right now.
The result? Two wins.

Williams has been the main beneficiary, averaging 25 points on 63 percent shooting, including 58.3 percent from 3-point range.

“I’m just playing a little bit better, trying to be more aggressive, and hitting shots definitely helps,” Williams said.

Williams enjoys playing in the smaller lineup. So too, it appears, does Paul Pierce, who is averaging 17.5 points since the move.

“I think we’re a little faster on both ends of the floor,” Williams said. “I think the floor is a lot more spread and I think Paul just causes such a matchup problem for a lot of fours in this league so we’re able to exploit that.”

In 44 minutes together the past two games, Williams, Livingston, Pierce and Joe Johnson are scoring 107 points per 100 possessions while giving up just 84 points per 100 possessions on the defensive end.

“I think our rotations are a little bit better,” Williams said. “Besides that third quarter (against Cleveland), we’ve played pretty solid defense -- so for whatever reason, this lineup is working, so we just got to ride it out.

Sounds like a plan.

Question: What do you think about the Nets' small lineup? Let us known in the Comments section.

In case you missed it: Johnson talks about his shooting funk, while Kidd won’t be wearing a tie Monday night.

Stat to know: By starting Reggie Evans in place of Kevin Garnett (rest), the Nets used their 15th different lineup Saturday night. They used 13 different starting fives all of last season.

Fearza: Mirza Teletovic is averaging 12 points in his past five games on 51.2 percent shooting -- 50 percent from 3-point range.

Up next: The Nets host the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night at the Barclays Center.