When players and coaches talk about putting in a team effort, it’s usually a throwaway statement. It isn’t with the Nets.
The Nets, in Monday’s 101-97 win over the Atlantic Division-leading Toronto Raptors, proved why they could be one of the league’s most dangerous teams in the playoffs.
Five players scored in double figures as the team played without Kevin Garnett (back problems) for the sixth straight game.
When General Manager Billy King put the team together, he was intent on making sure there was enough depth. It was prudent thinking on King’s part, especially because the roster features several players over the age of 30.
Andray Blatche, a key bench player for the Nets, had nine points in the win. He lauded his teammates for stepping up in Garnett’s absence.
“We thought we were going to get Kevin back tonight. We really wish we could’ve,” Blatche said. “But [Mason Plumlee] stepped in, I tried to step in, and Alan Anderson came off the bench and had a wonderful game to help us spark some energy on defense.”
With Deron Williams and Joe Johnson both falling short of what they normally provide on offense, Brook Lopez unavailable for the remainder of the season and Andrei Kirilenko out with an injury again, it has become incumbent on the rest of squad to pick up the pace when needed.
It’s so far so good for the Nets, who have won six of seven games through Monday and were in Miami last night (Wednesday).
Even newest Net Marcus Thornton has been effective with three games of 20 or more points since he got his first bit of playing time on Feb. 26. His scoring punch will give head coach Jason Kidd more flexibility with his rotation.
Added Blatche: “Every player means a lot to this team.”