Shaun Livingston, Mirza Teletovic spearhead Nets' victory

Nets guard Shaun Livingston passes the ball from Nets guard Shaun Livingston passes the ball from under the net against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first half of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden. (Dec. 27, 2013) Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Too often this season, the Nets' highs quickly have been followed by disappointing lows.

Now that they've played their final home game of the 2013 calendar year -- Friday night's 104-93 win over the Bucks -- perhaps a brief Barclays Center year-in-review of sorts is in order.

Remember back in May in the first round of the playoffs when the Nets forced a Game 7 on their home court? They went on to lose to an undermanned Bulls team, bringing their first season in Brooklyn to a premature end.

Think back to July, when the Nets held that news conference to introduce their three acquisitions, two of whom are future Hall of Famers, both of whom have looked like shells of their former selves.

How about in June, when the Nets introduced Jason Kidd, one of the organization's most beloved players, as their new coach? On Christmas Day, Nets fans serenaded him with boos and chants calling for his termination during a blowout loss to the Bulls.

If the Nets' New Year's resolution is to win more games, hosting the Bucks -- the team with the league's worst record -- was as good a place as any to begin.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Shaun Livingston, who got the start alongside Deron Williams for the first time this season to form a two-point guard set, led all scorers with 20 points and had six assists. With two ballhandlers on the court, the Nets showed improved ball movement and spacing, which created open shots.

"You just play off of him [Williams]," Livingston said. "I trust my IQ. I think Jason [Kidd] trusts my IQ. I just put myself in the right position to help guys."

Williams scored all nine of his points in the first quarter, including a fadeaway at the buzzer to open a 31-18 lead.

The Nets shot 12-for-26 on three-pointers, including five by Mirza Teletovic, who lost his starting job and came off the bench to score a career-high 19 points. He drained back-to-back corner threes to give the Nets a 42-23 lead with 7:35 remaining in the half.

"Jason coaches me with a lot of confidence and the guys, especially the veterans, have been talking to me, telling me what I have to do," Teletovic said. "It's the same mentality."

Former Celtics Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry each finished in double figures in the same game for the first time as Nets. Pierce, back in the starting lineup, attacked the rim aggressively and scored 13 points. Garnett had 10 points and five rebounds. Terry had 12 points, shooting 4-for-5 from downtown.

"You could see the energy," Kidd said. "Everyone in that locker room gave a lot of effort and they all pitched in, and that's what it takes to win."

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 16 points to lead the Bucks (6-23). He hit a three-pointer and later added two free throws as the Bucks trimmed what had been a 22-point deficit to 97-88 with 2:25 left. But Teletovic answered with a straightaway three-pointer to seal the win and snap a four-game losing streak.

The Nets now embark on a brutal three-game road trip in which they'll face the top three teams in the league. They make stops in Indiana and San Antonio before kicking off 2014 in Oklahoma City.

"Maybe going into the new year," Pierce said, "things will change for us."

Subscribe to Newsday’s sports newsletter for stories, photos and videos about your favorite New York teams plus national sports news and events.

Comments

Newsday.com now uses Facebook for our comment boards. Please read our guidelines and connect your Facebook account to comment.

You also may be interested in: