Follow the Nets' return to New York with Newsday's Rod Boone.
After wakeup call, Nets looking for statement wins
SAN ANTONIO -- The Nets are laying off that snooze button.
Since Avery Johnson's dismissal, albeit coming in games against the Bobcats and Cavaliers, there appears to be a new sense of purpose. They're 2-0 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, a mark they'll look to improve on Monday night when they meet the Spurs here deep in the heart of Texas.
"The Avery thing was a big wake up call to all of us, kind of snapped us out of it," Deron Williams said after the team's shootaround at the AT&T Center. "We see what happens when you lose. People start losing their jobs and we don't want that. We don’t want that to happen to anybody.
"So we kind of refocused and it kind of kicked us into another gear."
It's been a while since the Nets have beaten a team with a winning record. Their last such victory was back on Nov. 28 against the Celtics in Boston.
They're 3-13 in games versus teams that currently hold .500 or better records, but are 13-1 against sub.-500 teams. That's why a New Year's Eve victory over the Spurs would do wonders for their psyche.
"It will help us going forward," Carlesimo said. "It will give us renewed confidence going into Oklahoma City [Wednesday]. It will show us what we are capable of doing, and we’ll establish that, 'Hey guys, when we focus, when we do all these things well, when we get really good individual performances, there’s no team in this league that we can’t beat.'
"If you beat San Antonio in San Antonio, it’s a statement. I don't care who does it or when they do it, [if] they’re on a back-to-back. It’s a statement game. It would be a very positive statement for our team."
That's the way Gerald Wallace sees it, too.
"We just need a win to keep our momentum going," he said. "If anybody looks at our team and the way we feel about our team, the last two games at home were games that we were supposed to win.
"This is a game out on the road against a team of the caliber of the San Antonio Spurs, which can make a statement for us, trying to get back to where we were at the beginning of the season and also give us confidence moving forward."