There are new voices directing assignments from the bench, and the Nets just stepped out of the national spotlight after being in it for the wrong reasons. That's why guard Chris Douglas-Roberts described their recent circumstances as a "whirlwind."
The 106-97 loss to the Knicks Sunday at Madison Square Garden was only the second game the team has played under coach Kiki Vandeweghe and assistant Del Harris. The first was a victory over the Bobcats Friday that ended the Nets' losing streak at 18 games, an NBA record for season-opening futility.
So the Nets (1-19) are still getting accustomed to playing under a new system, and at times - such as when the Knicks (6-15) went to mainly a zone defense in the second half - the change caught up to them.
"We haven't had much practice time. We haven't gone over much zone offense," said Douglas-Roberts, who had 26 points, 23 in the first three quarters. "We were a little confused and our offense became stagnant."
The up-tempo offense the Nets used to build a 61-53 halftime lead sputtered in a 36-point second half. Devin Harris' driving layup gave the Nets a 57-44 lead with 3:52 left in the second quarter, but he scored only two of his 19 points after that. Brook Lopez also finished with 19.
Harris said he expects to see more zone in the future, but with more practices - the team has had only two with the new coaches - he expects the Nets to improve. "We're still fighting," he said. "We'll build on that."
"This is a learning lesson," Vandeweghe said.
As for the mood of the team, for the first time since the start of the season, the Nets Sunday could have said, "It's only one loss." Given the recent history, however, that was not the case.
"That win is behind us," Courtney Lee said. "We have to compete every night. It's a long season. We can't just live in the past off one win. We have to go out there and get another one."