Around the Nets: Forming, Pounding, Proactivity, Evolution

While trying to achieve some chemistry, the Nets had looked lukewarm, losing two games to young and unaccomplished opponents. The players said they were being too passive, perhaps, while trying to accommodate one another. But they looked plenty assertive Tuesday, never trailing and never taking their foot off the gas.

Six Nets players finished with double figures in points, and the team shot 51.3 percent from the field.

On defense, the Nets set out to be more proactive than they were during their loss Sunday, to dictate play rather than adjust to their opponent. This was apparent from the get-go. They were quick to put bodies onto Jazz players, harassing Utah into eight first-quarter turnovers, from which they produced 8 points.

-Andrew Keh, New York Times — Nets’ Pride Restored as Consistency Is Rediscovered

“We’re trying to form something here,” Garnett said. “I think Paul reiterated some of what I was talking about, and it’s just consistency. You can’t play a passionate game against Miami and then go out and play the way we did against Orlando.

“I was just letting them know that consistency is the difference between great teams and OK teams. … That was the message.”

The Nets (2-2) looked like they heard it loud and clear against the Jazz (0-4), pounding Utah right from the opening tip. Pierce opened the scoring with a 3-pointer followed by buckets from Brook Lopez and Deron Williams as Brooklyn scored the first seven points.

Things didn’t get much closer after that, as the Nets’ lead never dipped below five, and after an 18-7 run in the latter part of the second quarter, the Nets’ lead stayed at double digits the rest of the way.

-Tim Bontemps, New York Post — Nets blast Jazz after Garnett’s tirade

Jefferson, a 33-year-old starter for the Jazz now is the veteran leader on a young squad. He said he still employs the lessons he learned from Kidd — the first-year Nets coach — from 2001-08 in New Jersey.

“We complemented each other [on the court], but he was my mentor,” said Jefferson, playing his 13th season. “He was a guy that I listened to every single word for seven years and tried to take in as much as I could, and without him I probably wouldn’t have played in the league as many years as I have.”

Knowing what he knows about his former teammate, Jefferson doesn’t have any doubts about how he’ll fare as a coach.

“Jason Kidd is a guy that’s going to work extremely hard to prove that he deserves that opportunity that was given to him,” Jefferson said. “And he’s a guy that’s succeeded in every opportunity that’s been given to him. So I don’t see why this should be any different.”

-Andy Vasquez, The Bergen Record — Nets notes: Richard Jefferson reflects on time spent with Jason Kidd

How much of a blowout was this one? The Nets (2-2) were able to rest their starters for the entire fourth quarter, allowing Kidd easily to manage the minutes of his veterans as they continue their process of jelling on the fly and cementing a home-court advantage that has teams fearing the atmosphere when they set foot in Brooklyn.

“No disrespect to Orlando,” Kevin Garnett said. “They played well. They beat us. End of story. But at home, obviously, we have to protect our home. We are trying to establish something here at home. But any teams that we feel like we’re better than, we should go out and beat, and that’s no disrespect to any of the teams out here.

“Utah is well-coached with players that play really hard, that are NBA players. But when they are playing here in Brooklyn, along with everybody else, they’ve got to know that they are playing here in Brooklyn — along with everybody else. And that’s what we are trying to establish here.”

-Rod Boone, Newsday — Brook Lopez leads Nets to rout of Jazz

The Nets’ season-opening loss was one thing. Andrei Kirilenko sat out because of a sore back; head coach Jason Kidd was serving the first of his two-game suspension for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge; and Williams was limited by the training staff to just 22 minutes after missing nearly all of the preseason with a sprained right ankle.

The loss in Orlando was different. The Nets were coming off a win over the defending-champion Miami Heat, yet they betrayed every concept they preached about leading up to the 21-point pounding.

“Was it a lesson? Definitely,” Johnson said prior to Tuesday’s pounding of the winless Utah Jazz. “But it was something we should have been aware of coming into the game.”

-Alex Raskin, Wall Street Journal — Nets Work to Avoid a Soft Start to the Season