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Nets’ small ball experiment already showing promise

Nets’ small ball experiment already showing promise

The Nets were already in experimentation mode, and that was before losing big men Paul Millsap and Nic Claxton. 

Steve Nash tried a couple small, defensive-minded bench units Sunday against Detroit, and both showed some promise. 

With Kevin Durant and James Harden both resting, Nash used backup center LaMarcus Aldridge and surrounded him with a unit that included Bruce Brown, Deandre Bembry, Jevon Carter and Patty Mills in the second quarter, and another that replaced Mills with James Johnson. 

Both worked, with the Johnson lineup a plus-6 in four minutes, and the Mills unit a plus-five over a two-minute stretch. 

“It’s a very active defensive-minded lineup,” Nash said of the Brown-Bembry-Carter-Mills unit. “I thought they’re a naturally defensive-minded group, but they’ve got to also find ways to score and play with pace and make each other better, and I thought they were good on both ends. So I’m really proud of everybody’s performance.” 

Durant praised that same unit, which helped the Nets pull away from Detroit. 

“I like that we’ve got … a good balance of players in that group. You’ve got scorers in LaMarcus and Patty, defenders who can cut and make plays, long, athletic guys, DB, Bruce and Jevon. DB, Bruce and Jevon, athletic, quick guys that can get out and play in space and great defenders. 

Nets head coach Steve Nash surrounded LaMarcus Aldridge (21) with a small ball lineup including Patty Mills (8), Jevon Carter (0) and Deandre' Bembry (95) during the Nets' 117-91 rout of the Pistons Sunday.
Nets head coach Steve Nash surrounded LaMarcus Aldridge (21) with a small ball lineup including Patty Mills (8), Jevon Carter (0) and Deandre’ Bembry (95) during the Nets’ 117-91 rout of the Pistons Sunday.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“I like what we’ve seen with that group. Sure we’re going to keep trying to fine-tune what that looks like, but we put pressure on them with the offensive side of the ball and played great defense.” 


Millsap (paternity leave) and Claxton (non-COVID illness) are both expected to be out Wednesday against Atlanta. 


The Nets’ City Edition uniforms are out, and they’re confirmed as an homage to their old New Jersey roots. They’ll be worn a total of 23 times, and debut Wednesday in the finale of this season-long six-game homestand. 

The uniforms include the stars and stripes of the Julius Erving era to the 1990s wordmark and the argyle side panel of the 2002 and ’03 NBA Finals teams. 

The uniforms include the stars and stripes of the Julius Erving era to the 1990s wordmark and the argyle side panel of the 2002 and ’03 NBA Finals teams. 


The Nets’ game against the Raptors at 3:30 p.m. Sunday will be one of 48 weekend tilts over the course of this season that will air in prime time in Europe, the Middle East and Africa as part of the league’s Europe Primetime Initiative. 

It’s the second of three Nets games that will be included. The Oct. 24 loss to the Hornets was the first, and the Feb. 6 tilt at the Nuggets will be the last. 

With NBA games and programming available in 215 countries and territories in over 50 languages, the Europe Primetime Initiative is designed to make games and programming more accessible to fans outside of the U.S.

Source: NYPOST

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