Jason Kidd is slowly easing into this NBA coaching thing. (56517)

Have the Nets finally turned the corner?

Winners of five of their last six games, the Nets will battle the Atlanta Hawks at 3 p.m. today in London.

It remains to be seen if the Nets, who improved to 15-22, are completely on track, but the team has played well on both sides of the ball in recent weeks, particularly on defense. The Nets have surrendered 98 points or less in all five of the games.

The key to the Nets’ recent good fortune has to do with “the understanding to stay together,” Jason Kidd said after the team’s win over the Miami Heat last Friday. “We’ve been through injuries and we’ve been through a tough streak of losing. Just understanding coming to work every day, that’s what those guys in that locker room do.”

Staying the course is important for this Nets team. With talk circulating that General Manager Billy King could be looking to dump salary at the trade deadline, the Nets need to get hot fast or their championship hopes for this year will go out the window.

The Nets’ turnaround, as previously stated, starts with defense. The Heat shot 42 percent from the field and only 26 percent (6 for 23) from 3-point range.

More importantly, LeBron James fouled out. Also, the Heat bench was limited to just 10 points. Kidd attributed the Heat’s struggles to the Nets’ defensive pressure. He lauded the play of point guard Shaun Livingston, who was recently inserted into the starting lineup.

Livingston, the Nets’ best perimeter defender who leads the team in steals, averaged 10.5 points and 3.1 assists over his last six games. His play at the point and on defense has been a huge spark, according to Kidd.

“Shaun’s IQ is extremely high. He does it all, and we’ve asked him defensively to guard everybody,” Kidd said. “We can talk about our offense, but our defense has helped us win these five games.”