Paul Pierce, Andray Blatche

This isn’t a fluke and not a passing trend. The Brooklyn Nets can’t stop winning in 2014, beating the Orlando Magic 101-90 thanks to some excellent third quarter defense as the team seems to be answering all the problems that plagued them through the first couple of months.

The Nets won 101-90, but it was over way before the final minutes of the fourth quarter. The Nets held the Magic to only 3-of-21 from the field in the third quarter, winning that one 27-14, which allowed a lot of garbage time and some great play from Andray Blatche, leading the team with 18 points, combining dunks and 3-point shots to the pleasure of the home fans.

Jason Kidd keeps going with Shaun Livingston in the starting lineup, which pays off for him. Deron Williams doesn’t seem angry about being left on the bench, getting 28 minutes and doing quite a lot with them (9 points, 9 assists). Mirza Teletovic also came off the bench to impress with 14 points (including four 3-pointers) while only Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson scored in double figures (13 points each) among the starters.

The Nets improve to 8-1 in the Month of January, erasing most of the doubts that accumulated from their 10-21 start to the season, that included too many second half collapses and infamously making a mess of almost every third quarter they were in. Hard to put a finger on why that happened, but tit seems the lineup changes made by Kidd (some of them forced on him) put a new kind of energy in the team, and the players responded accordingly.

We’re not only winning, but we’re pretty convincingly turning it on in the third quarter with the defense, the way we’re moving the ball. hat’s what we want. That’s all he wants out of us, night in, night out, a consistent effort. That’s what we’re trying to do especially in back-to-backs. I think our third quarters have been a lot better. That was a problem a lot in the first half of the season. We just came out and couldn’t get going and got blown out the water. We’ve definitely been better since the start of the new year.

The Nets are only 2-6 this season after the win on back-to-back nights, but it seems that keeping up this form and this right blend of lineup to bench ratio is quickly going to improve that record as well.

Andray Blatche

For us coming off the back-to-back, we haven’t had that much success — if any. This was more or less — no matter who the opponent was — it was about trying to get a win against a team we hadn’t had back-to-back win.

One of the pleasing thing for the Nets is that they’re not just about a streaky scoring run by one of their players. It has been about the defense just as much as it has been about Joe Johnson’s scoring in recent games. The Nets are allowing only 91.7 points in their 8 wins since 2014 began, and that comes from pretty much everyone (Mason Plumlee excluded) taking a part of what’s going on, as opposed to earlier this season, when it seems not everyone was really on board.

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