Most of the success the Nets enjoyed during their first two weeks under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo came against teams with losing records.
That's why last night's game against the Pacers, who came into the game in third place in the Eastern Conference, presented the Nets with a chance to prove that their recent success wasn't the product of a soft patch in their schedule.
They didn't miss their chance.
Thanks to a 17-0 run early in the fourth quarter, the Nets were able to erase what once was a 12-point second-half deficit on their way to a 97-86 victory over the Pacers in front of a crowd of 16,499 at Barclays Center.
The win pushed the Nets' winning streak to a season-high six games and bumped their record under Carlesimo to 8-1 since he took over for Avery Johnson on Dec. 27.
"This was a big game for us," said Deron Williams, who finished with 22 points, five rebounds and nine assists despite playing through a right quad contusion. "We had won five in a row, but most of them have come against teams with below .500 records.
"This was a good test for us, a good challenge against a good team, and we came ready and stepped up our game in the fourth quarter."
It looked as if the Nets (22-15) were in serious jeopardy of failing their test against the Pacers, who came into the game riding a four-game winning streak and having won eight of 10. The Pacers took a six-point lead into the fourth quarter and stretched it to eight when center Ian Mahinmi scored to make it 77-69 with 10:57 remaining.
But the Nets dominated from there at both ends of the floor. Offensively, they went to their strengths, with the combination of Williams (four points and two assists), Joe Johnson (three points, one assist) and Brook Lopez (eight points) contributing 15 of the 17 points during the crucial run.
Williams, Nets run win streak to 6
New York Post | Jan 14