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Friday, January 17, 2014
Starting Five: Numbers back Nets' change

By Mike Mazzeo

The Brooklyn Nets' defense has been all the rage these days.

And how could it not be (eighth-best in terms of efficiency, 43.4 opponent field goal percentage)?

But let’s not forget about the offense.

On Thursday, the Nets exploded for 127 points and established new season-highs for field goals (53) and assists (38). They shot 58.2 percent from the field and hit 16 3-pointers.

Let’s take a look at their splits before (10-21) and after (6-1) the New Year:

Field goal percentage before: 44.4
Field goal percentage after: 45.8

Joe Johnson
Nets forward Joe Johnson is on a roll over the last five game, averaging 24.4 points.
Points per 100 possessions before: 101.9
Points per 100 possessions after: 105.9

Points off turnovers before: 16.5
Points off turnovers after: 20.3

Pace before: 94.6 (possessions per 48 minutes)
Pace after: 90.1 (fewest in NBA)

Let’s also take a look at some individual player production:

Kevin Garnett is shooting 65.5 percent in his last five games compared to 36.4 percent in his first 28 games.

• Since 2014, Paul Pierce is averaging 15.9 points on 41 percent shooting, Andrei Kirilenko is shooting 52 percent and Mirza Teletovic is shooting 43.2 percent from 3-point range.

• In his last five games, Joe Johnson is averaging 24.4 points.

• In the last two weeks, Shaun Livingston, Alan Anderson, Johnson, Pierce and Garnett is the second-best lineup in the NBA in terms of net efficiency rating (minimum 50 minutes played): plus-21 (102.2 offensive versus 81.1 defensive).

Let’s get the players’ take on what’s going on:

Johnson: “I think it’s simple, man, there’s no rhyme or reason to it. We just have to move the basketball and make everything easy. I think we’re doing a great job of exploiting mismatches and making teams [play at our pace]. Like I said, it’s just been easy, guys getting in the lane and making the easy play.”

Garnett: “It’s a free-flowing offense. ... Like Joe said, it’s about matchups, finding those matchups, making the defense adjust to those matchups and then obviously sharing the ball.”

Question: How do you think the impending return of Deron Williams will affect the team’s offensive progression? Let us know in the comments section below.

In case you missed it: Mikhail Prokhorov supports his coach and isn’t a fan of all the criticism surrounding his “absentee ownership.” He also thinks the Nets can win a title ... “If he stars align.” Johnson continues to score at will, while Jason Kidd has been doing quite a job lately.

Up next: The Nets have off Friday and Saturday (time to get back on Eastern Standard time). Then practice Sunday. Will D-Will participate? We’ll find out.