Brooklyn Nets' Bojan Bogdanovic and Philadelphia 76ers' Hollis Thompson go...

Brooklyn Nets' Bojan Bogdanovic and Philadelphia 76ers' Hollis Thompson go diving for a loose ball during an NBA game on Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, in Philadelphia. Credit: AP / Chris Szagola

Even though he's seen this script before and served as one of the lead actors, Joe Johnson can't believe he's in the midst of yet another sequel.

A slow start. Frustrating losses mounting up. Nerve-wracking fourth-quarter play.

It all sounds so familiar. Makes it feel like he's immersed in some old Nets re-run.

"To be honest, everything has happened like it's happened the previous two years that I've been here," Johnson said Friday. "So, is it surprising? Yeah, you expect to get off to a better start, you want to get off to a better start, but man, I'm not making excuses. But when you are learning a new system every year and you've got a bunch of new players every year, this is kind of what you get.

"We can only get better and I think that's a good thing. We've just got to keep working to find that niche on how we want to be as a team."

Inconsistency has been the Nets' calling card and nothing they've done recently suggests they're anywhere close to turning things around. Too often, they have these lengthy lapses that negate whatever good play they've logged. They've been subjected to far too many late-game heartaches that leaveall the positives as distant memories when the clock strikes triple zeroes.

As coach Lionel Hollins put it, "There's all kinds of problems" that need to be rectified. Until the Nets do a better job at digging in mentally all game and displaying the extra sense of purpose Hollins is seeking, their yo-yo play will likely continue.

"There's a lot more that I want," the Nets coach said. "Just like you guys think I'm on Brook [Lopez], I want Brook to be as good as he can be. I want our team to be as good as it can be. That means getting out of your comfort zone and making second, and third, and fourth effort on offense to go get an offensive rebound, to set an extra screen or to roll. On defense, to help and to recover, help and recover again, and then go back and get a defensive rebound.

"Winning teams, if you watch them, they do all of those things. [It's] not just they score or not just that they rebound. They do all of those things."

Particularly in the fourth quarter and crunch time, something that's been a serious problem for the Nets. Since Nov. 9, the Nets' 41-percent shooting in the fourth quarter ranks last. Their 25.9-percent showing from three-point range in the fourth quarter ranks 25th. Despite being a veteran team, they're tightening up in tense moments more often that not.

"I think we do it for two quarters, three quarters," Johnson said. "It's just in the fourth quarter, it's like I said, guys get a little hesitant. That same three-point shot that you shot in the first quarter may not be as easy to shoot in the fourth. So I think those are the things that we have to get over as players to be a better team."

Just like it's imperative they don't deviate from the expected game plan and important to maintain a laser-like, intense focus from the opening tip to the final horn. Staying disciplined is key.

"It's just sticking and doing the same thing," Hollins said. "The other team has a little to do with it. But when you start not getting into the paint and attacking, and you start playing to the crowd, and they start turning the ball over and you get lackadaisical and you turn the ball over, you force things, you turn the ball over and the other team gets out and runs. It's just a matter of staying with what we do for 48 minutes.

"We've had big first quarters, we've had big first halves, three quarters. You've got to play through 48 minutes."

More Brooklyn Nets