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Saturday, February 16, 2013
Five things Nets have done right

By Mike Mazzeo

Sure, the Brooklyn Nets can improve. But they’ve also done several things right during the first half of the season. Let’s take a look:

1. Brook Lopez's All-Star level of play

Lopez has always been good, but this good? The 24-year-old leads all NBA centers in scoring (19 ppg) and ranks tied for 12th in the league overall in that category. He’s also improved his defense (sixth in the league in blocks with 2.2 per game) and rebounding (7.4). Lopez will be the 13th Net to play in the All-Star Game in franchise history.

2. They’ve beat up on bad teams

The Nets love playing sub-.500 teams. They’re 18-2 against them (at time of game played). They started the season by winning 17 straight games against bad opponents.

3. They’ve protected their home court

The Nets are 19-10 at Barclays Center this season. It may be nothing like Madison Square Garden just yet -- if ever -- but it’s certainly better than it was in New Jersey. Granted, having a winning team has a lot to do with that.

4. They love playing for P.J.

The Nets are 17-8 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo. They’re scoring more points, shooting a better percentage and out-rebounding their opponents at a greater margin since Carlesimo took over for Avery Johnson. Carlesimo is off to the second-best start of any Nets coach in franchise history through his first 25 games at the helm (Lawrence Frank, 19-6).

5. Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans have been their unsung heroes

Blatche ranks 16th in the league in PER (21.95), while Evans leads the league in rebounds per 48 minutes and rebound percentage. Not bad for a couple guys who make less than $3 million this season combined.