Figuring Out a Nets Winning Streak

Big third quarter leads Nets to fourth straight win

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    Blatche shook off a long night and the Nets shook off another losing team.

    The Nets played their seventh game since firing Avery Johnson on Tuesday night against the 76ers and they won for the sixth time.

    A close game turned into a blowout in the third quarter as the Nets outscored their hosts 35-14 en route to a 109-89 victory. The timing of their big run was unusual since the third quarter has been Brooklyn's Waterloo on more than one occasion this season and several potential wins have faded away during those 12 minutes. 

    The win came with 20 points from Andray Blatche, which is notable since he spent part of the day in the company of police investigating an alleged sexual assault in a hotel suite. Blatche wasn't suspected of any assault, nor was he charged with anything, so he should be free to keep doing work off the bench in the weeks to come. 

    Let's all lift P.J. Carlesimo on our shoulders and dance him around the town as the great savior of the first year in Brooklyn. Who cares that we made it very clear that we'd rather have Phil Jackson and that Jackson told us he'd rather not give Deron Williams another target when we've got a guy who has turned the whole season around?

    Thing is, it's not actually all that clear anything has changed under Carlesimo other than him not being Avery Johnson. The record is better, of course, but it's a bit of a stretch to suggest that has much to do with grand coaching changes or even all that much to do with the Nets.

    Carlesimo's six wins have come against one good team in the Thunder and five teams who would need the playoffs to expand to include every team in the league to be involved. Similarly, the team's 11-4 start was built with a lot of wins over teams like Orlando (with wins against the Knicks and Clippers mixed in) and losses to the likes of the Heat and Warriors. 

    The 3-10 stretch that led to Johnson's firing? Only losses to the Jazz and Celtics came against teams that don't currently have winning records and both of those teams are .500 while all three of the wins were against the league's weaker entries. 

    It's hard to ignore the pattern at work here and harder to credit Carlesimo with much other than good timing at this point. The second half of this month sees the competition level jump back to the A-list and that will be the moment when we find out if there's any significant difference in the team since letting Johnson go for being the coach of a team that could beat bad teams more often than good ones.  

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.