1) RaptorsHQ: The Nets were one of the bigger disappointments to start the NBA season and in fact, even before this five-game winning streak had lost six of seven. Missing Deron Williams and Brook Lopez, their supposed two best players, they've turned things around of late. What the hell is going on in Brooklyn??!!
Dennis Velasco: Obviously, it's Jason Kidd not wearing a tie during games anymore. But, seriously, it's Kevin Garnett's fire and leadership finally shining through what was an obviously gloomy season. And he's hitting that jumper! After the Nets' New Year's Eve loss/cremation to the San Antonio Spurs, the team got together and vowed to keep all the bad stuff in 2013 and have nothing but good in 2014 with a change in attitude and body languare - it's highly noticeable. Another thing is that Coach Kidd has been doing an excellent job on the sidelines. Previously, particularly in the beginning of the season, Kidd seemed a bit muted. Now, he seems more active and involved. One shot of the game last night that I loved was Jason Kidd and Kevin Garnett talking strategy with both their mouths and hand gestures as the huddle was breaking after a time-out in overtime. Sure, that's not anything that's unique for a player and coach, but it seemed very symbolic to me because I've never seen anything like that from the Nets this season before.
2) RHQ: What's your take on the whole Jason Kidd/Lawrence Frank mess? Do you think Kidd is indeed the right man for this job going forward?
DV: Honestly, if he isn't, tough, because he's going to get a real chance with this ownership group. Mikhail Prokhorov loves Kidd and I was fortunate enough to talk to him before the season about Kidd and he was very hyperbolic in his admiration, and he's obviously a very good salesman, but I could hear the sincerity. The aforementioned injuries to Deron Williams and Brook Lopez are basically why he deserves a shot to keep coaching this squad. He'll definitely survive this season, playoffs or not. Next season will likely be the real indicator, as long as the team is healthy, on how long his tenure will be.
3) RHQ: What's the key for the Nets tonight in terms of getting a W?
DV: What they've been doing during this five-game winning streak - playing defense as a team. Putting Kevin Garnett at the five seems to have helped because now you have a great defensive player communicating from the middle with vision of the whole court. He can call out rotations and all that other good stuff that has made KG the best help defender of all-time. Offensively, give the ball to Joe Jesus. Add a little Truth to it as well. And, Nets fan also want their MT3. But, to sum it up, the Nets need to keep playing with something they've lacked for most of the season - heart. You've seen a lot of that during this five-game winning streak.