Don't Look Now, But the Nets Are Fun Again – Sports Illustrated

BROOKLYN — Watching the first week of an NBA season with any sort of self-respect means trying as hard as possible not to get carried away for any particular reason. The second week, though? Great time to get hyped. With five-ish games in the books, you can’t crown a champion, but it’s enough to know who’s playing decent basketball and to hone in on your pet teams. If you’re listening, the Brooklyn Nets are 3–2 and would like to make a case.

After all, who needs lottery picks to convince a group of guys to play hard? Not Kenny Atkinson, whose aggressive pace-and-space principles have been visibly ingrained in a tough young set of players who led the league in pace last season and are very much back at it. To be fair, the Nets’ 112–107 win over LeBron James and the Cavaliers on Wednesday came thanks to particularly sloppy play from their opposition — a decisive replay review in the final seconds was the deflating ending the game deserved. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said it best: “We’re running around out here, worrying about getting the Brooklyn draft pick when they may want our pick.”

No, the Nets don’t actually have a pick swap with Cleveland. But the implosion of the ill-fated, impatient megadeal with Boston and the mortgaging of what should have been a promising future in a major market has soiled the organization’s reputation for much of this decade. As a new front office and coaching staff have taken the reins, it’s increasingly obvious that some of it has been a little unfair. Jeremy Lin is already done for the season, D’Angelo Russell is out with a knee issue, and yet sometimes, life gifts you a career-high 22 points from Spencer Dinwiddie. They’ve won three straight home games to

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