With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving back in the mix, the Brooklyn Nets were expected to be a playoff contender. And they kicked off the 2020-21 campaign with a pair of blowout wins over the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics.
However, the Nets were at the .500 mark through the first 12 games of the season and their record was a somewhat better 14-12 at the 26-game mark. Since that time, though, the Nets have been playing some good basketball over the past two weeks.
On the Heels of Win Streak, Brooklyn Nets are the NBA’s Hottest Team
Their recent stretch kicked off with a 104-94 win over the Indiana Pacers on Feb. 10. After that game, the Nets embarked on a five-game road trip out west. This included games against the Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Clippers.
What could have been a brutal road trip turned out to be anything but that, as the Nets posted victories in each of those contests. The Nets continued their hot streak with another 127-118 win over the Kings on Tuesday night. This recent victory extended Brooklyn’s winning streak to seven games.
This stretch has been impressive for a couple of reasons. First, the Nets have won by a double-digit margin in four of those seven wins. Additionally, Durant (29 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per contest) has been out the last five contests due to a hamstring injury. The fact that the Nets are playing this well with their leading scorer out of the rotation is no small feat.
The Nets are not an Elite Defensive Team
If there is somewhat of a downside to this discussion, it’s the fact the Nets aren’t a very good defensive team. They are ranked 28th in points allowed at 117 points per contest. Additionally, the Nets are ranked 26th in defensive efficiency, giving up 114.8 points per 100 possessions.
The Brooklyn Nets are Operating an Efficient Level Offensively
On the flip side of the narrative, the Nets are one of the top-scoring teams in the association. This should not be too much of a surprise, considering they have a talented trio in Durant, Irving, and James Harden.
Brooklyn is ranked first in points per game (121.2). Their offensive rating of 118.8 per 100 possessions is also the top mark in the NBA. You may be asking, “But is this team shooting the rock at an efficient clip?”
In a word: Absolutely.
The Nets are first in field goal percentage, as they have converted 50.1 percent of their overall attempts. Not only that, but the Nets are also knocking down 40.6 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc. This is the second-best conversion rate from three-point range, second only to the Clippers.
True, the Nets are a train wreck from a defensive standpoint. What is also certain is that 33 games may not be a great sample size to determine the true potential of this ball club.
At the same time, they’ve had great success with both Durant and Irving out of the lineup at different times. And if they can produce at a high clip when key players are out of the rotation, just imagine what this team will look like at full strength over an extended period of time.
Simply put, this team will be one to watch for during the duration of the season.
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