The 2018-19 season started off well for the Brooklyn Nets. They sported a 6-7 record and Caris LeVert emerged as a very good basketball player. In game 14 the terrible LeVert injury happened. Consequently, the Nets spiraled downwards losing ten of their next twelve games. From blowing leads in the fourth quarter to getting blown out, the Nets were finding ways to lose almost every game. Then, the Nets went on a seven-game winning streak and to date have won eight out of nine.
A look at the revitalized Brooklyn Nets
What changed to spur the winning streak
In the aftermath of the Levert injury, the Nets struggled to close out games. LeVert was the man the Nets went to for big baskets in the fourth quarter. The Nets struggled to fill the void left by LeVert’s injury. D’Angelo Russell started scoring more averaging 19.4 points a game in the first twelve games after the injury. However, Russell was attempting 19.3 field goals a game which would rank tenth in the league. The problem is Russell was only making 40 percent of his attempts, which would rank last among the top ten players attempting the most field goals. In other words, Russell was forcing shots in an effort to compensate for the loss of LeVert.
In the past nine games, Russell is attempting 4 fewer shots a game. Plus, his shooting percentage is up three percent over that time span. Instead of forcing himself into the offense Russell is letting the offense flow naturally.
Another key factor in the Nets recent success is Spencer Dinwiddie. Over the last nine games, Dinwiddie is averaging 23 points a game and over 6 assists a game. Dinwiddie was a finalist for MIP last season and there is no reason he shouldn’t be a finalist again.
Starting lineup change
During the Nets losing skid, the fans wanted coach Kenny Atkinson to give rookie Rodions Kurucs more playing time. While Kurucs was only inserted into the starting lineup six games ago, he has played an average of 26 minutes a game over the last nine. Kurucs is averaging close to 12 points a game over that period of time and has given the Nets a jolt of energy while on the floor.
Can the Nets continue to compete for a playoff berth
Currently, the Nets sit in the ninth spot in the eastern conference. One game out of the last playoff spot. There is no reason to think they can not continue to improve and try to sneak into the playoffs. The east is loaded with mediocre to bad teams. If the Nets can beat teams that are worse than them and win some games against better teams, the playoffs are not out of the question.
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