In the wake of the trade of Kevin Garnett, Brooklyn has been playing with a smaller lineup and has won two consecutive games on the road as a result. One player who likes it? Deron Williams, who said this type of game just works better for his game and the Nets' personnel as a whole.
"The court's a lot more open when we play small like this," Williams told reporters after the thrashing of the Nuggets on Monday night. "When you play [Markel Brown], when you play Cory [Jefferson], we're a lot more athletic. We can get out and run and that suits me."
Small ball saved the Nets' 2013-14 season and now it has them 2-0 after the All Star break. I'm not sure why it took the Nets so long to get back to what worked so well last year under Jason Kidd. Maybe Lionel Hollins felt he had an obligation to Kevin Garnett, and it was just too hard of a rotation to crack for guys like Brown and Jefferson. Whatever the case may be, the way Brooklyn flew around the court on Monday was a sight for sore eyes.
Brown had 11 rebounds over the course of his 45 minutes, as he beat Nuggets rebounders to their position and outworked them for the loose balls. Jefferson was 3-of-4 from the field and had five rebounds of his own. And as the Nets' youngsters were cut loose, Williams racked up his second straight double digit assist game (12), en route to a +18 on the night. This is Brooklyn's game, and it only took them four months to find it. But now that they have, they need to stick with what works if they hope to hold onto that eighth and final playoff spot in the East.