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News » NETS ABOVE ZERO! - MISERY FINALLY ENDS IN KIKI'S 1ST GAME AS COACH


NETS ABOVE ZERO! - MISERY FINALLY ENDS IN KIKI'S 1ST GAME AS COACH


NETS ABOVE ZERO! - MISERY FINALLY ENDS IN KIKI'S 1ST GAME AS COACH Nets 97 - Bobcats 91

The Nets pushed their season-high winning streak to one game last night.

Darn, they didn't gain any ground in the Atlantic on the Celtics, who also won.

Adhering to interim coach Kiki Vandeweghe's call to relax, have fun and block thoughts of the 0-18 worst start in NBA history, the Nets looked like a team enjoying a fresh start as they hustled, dove, defended, responded after taking some gut punches and, above all, won.

They turned the Charlotte Bobcats into that squad with a team-oriented 97-91 victory that featured spectacular individual efforts by Courtney Lee, Brook Lopez and Devin Harris to make Vandeweghe a winner in his coaching debut.

"You know what felt good? How hard our guys played tonight. Win, lose or draw they came with it," said Vandeweghe, who saw his team give up a six-point fourth quarter lead to a pair of 3-pointers by Stephen Jackson 61 seconds apart, only to respond with a 9-0 run in a span of 1:07. "What we've tried to achieve is the guys getting back to enjoying playing Basketball."

There was no way they couldn't have enjoyed this night, which ended amid a standing ovation from a crowd of 12,131 that sounded much larger. And believe it, there was relief. When their first regular season win since April 13 - also against Charlotte - was complete, Josh Boone, an inside force, uttered appropriately: "It's about time."

And for one night, the Nets , nearly whole with 11 bodies (Keyon Dooling and Tony Battie returned but Rafer Alston was again a late scratch) could forget the horrors of all the defeats: At the buzzer. With :00.1 left. With eight available bodies. This night was a new start, even if the NBA balks about an 18-game do-over.

"When we play the right way, we get everybody involved with emotion," said Courtney Lee, who started for the first time since his Nov. 6 groin strain and was brilliant at both ends with a career high 27 points and three steals - one of them leading to a back-breaking fastbreak dunk at 2:07 for a 90-86 lead. "And when you have emotion for your teammate, it's going to be fun."

Lee got the Nets going early - which was part of the plan. And when Lee wasn't hitting 11-of-16 shots, the Nets were finding a moose inside with Brook Lopez (31 points, 14 rebounds).

"We played to his [Lee's] strengths," said Devin Harris (16 points, 8 assists) who gave a Derek Jeter-esque, head-first, crowd-loving-it dive into the fourth row chasing a loose ball with 67 seconds left. "We got him going early. He was aggressive. He played more of his type of game, moving without the ball, getting open shots and finding his rhythm."

And the Nets all followed. It was the fun thing to do.

"Man, it's a nice one to have off your back," Lopez said. "It was definitely a great feeling in here. We just came out with an attitude that we had to win."


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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 8, 2009

 

 
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