For most of his 12-game tenure, coach Jack Vaughn has seen the Brooklyn Nets put in enough effort not to require slamming.
After the Nets lost 11 points in Philadelphia on Tuesday, against an opponent who lost three key players, Vaughn took his team’s effort to task.
Brooklyn’s effort was much better Wednesday in Toronto and Vaughn hopes to see more of the same Friday night when the Nets visit the Indiana Pacers.
The Nets are 7-5 since Vaughn replaced Steve Nash on November 1, the day after Brooklyn beat Indiana 116-109 and three days after allowing 23 three-pointers in an 11-point loss to Indiana that prompted a team meeting.
On Wednesday, the Nets pulled off a 112-98 win over the Raptors, who were without Fred VanVleet, Scotty Barnes and Pascal Siakam. Brooklyn allowed 34 second chance points and 23 offensive rebounds on Wednesday, but also limited Toronto to 35.6 percent shooting, including a solid 7 of 29 from 3-point range after allowing 16 3s on Tuesday.
It was Brooklyn’s second-lowest opposing shooting percentage this season and the sixth time they’ve allowed fewer than 100 points this season—with every instance since Vaughn took over.
“You didn’t see many breakdowns at the end of plays tonight, the level of focus,” said Vaughn. “A big part of it is just holding each other to a higher level. I thought from the start of the game, you saw that: a lot of talking from each other, a lot of communication, more asking from each other, and it was great to see it too.”
Kyrie Irving scored 19 of his 29 points in the third quarter and Kevin Durant survived a season-low 12 points.
“We’re working on winning,” Irving said. “We’re going to take this, especially after last night’s loss, and the whole internet is going up in an uproar in terms of how embarrassing we must be, and rightly so. We just wanted to make sure we paid attention to the details tonight. We went out and responded.”
Indiana won five out of six, but saw their five-game winning streak halt due to a tough night of inside defense.
In Wednesday’s 115-101 loss to the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves, the Pacers allowed an awful 74 points in the paint, leading Minnesota shooting 61 percent from the field. Prior to Wednesday, Indiana had given up 104.6 points on 40.9 percent from the field in its five-game winning streak.
“We have to defend better and be better on offense, both sides of the ball,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said after his team hit 19 more shots than Minnesota and shot 38.5 percent from the field.
“We have to go back to our defensive principles,” Indiana guard Buddy Held added. “We weren’t in the right place tonight. I don’t know what happened there but that wasn’t us.”
Carlisle and Indiana are also hoping for another big game from Miles Turner. Turner scored 31 points and averaged 20.4 points on 61.2 percent shooting in his past nine contests.
Rookie Benedict Mathurin, who scored 32 in Brooklyn on Oct. 29, added 21 but Indiana got a bit from its backcourt from Tyrese Haliburton and Aaron Nesmith, who combined to go 5-of-24 from the floor.
-Mead level media