Kidd's Brooklyn Nets show new life


NEW YORK -- Hours before the Nets snapped the Warriors' 10-game winning streak, Golden State coach Mark Jackson spent a good portion of his pregame session with reporters dishing out compliments about Jason Kidd as if he were handing out flashy assists during his playing days.

Jackson staunchly defended Kidd's ability to coach despite never having done so before and Kidd's decision to demote Lawrence Frank if that meant ensuring the team had one singular voice.

"I have never seen any one of The Pips try to lead," Jackson argued. "That's Gladys' role.

"Let Gladys be Gladys."

It may have taken some time -- about a month to be exact since the Frank demotion -- but the Nets and Kidd are starting to make some music on the court. For the second time in less than a week, Kidd and the Nets have a signature victory over a Western Conference power after outlasting the Warriors 102-98 at Barclays Center.

After vowing to be a new team in 2014, the Nets are undefeated in the new year, riding a four-game winning streak. They stunned Kevin Durant at Oklahoma City before taking care of business against undermanned Cleveland and Atlanta.

Wednesday night's win over the Warriors, though, gives the Nets (14-21) some added legitimacy to this winning streak.

Sure, the Warriors were finishing up an exhausting seven-game road swing low on gas. But the Nets managed to survive against Stephen Curry without Deron Williams, who could be out for an extended period of time because of an ankle injury, and Brook Lopez, who is out for the season.

And let's face it -- the Nets looked like a team that was going to sink into the gutter on New Year's Eve after being routed in San Antonio.

So what has changed?

"Give Jason a lot of credit," Jackson said before the Nets' win. "When you have adversity is when true leadership shows up. They've responded [to him]. There's a long time left to go in this season."

The Nets still aren't the team many thought they would be with all the injuries and adjustments to a rookie coach. But there are a few reasons why the Nets have suddenly shown some life.

Kidd has installed a smaller lineup featuring Paul Pierce at power forward. Andrei Kirilenko and Andray Blatche have returned to provide depth, and players seem to be understanding their roles better. Plus, the Nets are playing defense.

But more than anything else, the Nets are fighting. They're now taking a punch and showing resiliency instead of folding.

"To be honest, the confidence is in the fight," Kevin Garnett said. "You know? Jason has done a great job of just continuing to explain what he wants out of this offense. And I think we are picking it up slowly but surely."

Golden State opened Wednesday's game looking as if it were going to blow the Nets out, jumping out to a 32-16 lead late in the first quarter. But the Nets responded by outscoring the Warriors 37-20 in the second quarter.

In the third, a quarter that has killed the Nets so many times this season, Kidd's team didn't back down, even when the Warriors erased an 11-point Nets lead.

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