Jacque Vaughn of the Nets reacts during the first quarter...

Jacque Vaughn of the Nets reacts during the first quarter against the Orlando Magic at Barclays Center on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023. Credit: Jim McIsaac

ATLANTA — The Nets returned to State Farm Arena Wednesday, a reminder of how they scored 145 points two weeks earlier yet lost to the Hawks.

It also reminded how NBA offenses continue to reach new heights every season. The Hawks won that first meeting against the Nets by scoring 147 points, a day after they lost, 157-152, to the Pacers in the highest scoring game this season.

Coach Jacque Vaughn marveled at how the Bucks scored 146 points Tuesday in their NBA In-Season Tournament win over the Knicks. It’s a far cry from his playing days, which ended in 2009 but feels like the Dark Ages compared to the pinball-esque scoring now.

“You see that over and over again,” Vaughn said. before the game. “You know [I] used to think ‘Wow!’ Now I just say, ‘OK, you go on to the next game.’

“The spacing, I think, has grown in utilizing it. The offense definitely has the advantage as far as speed, quickness, rhythm, movement, all the above.”

The Nets are right in that mix as they’re sixth in the NBA in offensive efficiency and second in three-point percentage. They’ve had four games where they’ve scored at least 128 points, two fewer than what they had all last season.

It’s not just the Nets who are scoring at a rapid pace. The Kings led the NBA in offensive efficiency last season with 118.6 points per 100 possessions, yet three teams currently have a higher offensive rating, led by the Pacers, who have an offensive rating of 123.6

Vaughn believes it’s a matter of more skilled players coming into the NBA as well as better spacing. With more players able to create their own shot, it won’t be surprising if the Nets — or any team — are caught in another high-scoring affair.

“The space that they’re able to create and take advantage of the space. There’s no catching up once they get an advantage,” Vaughn said of modern players. “They have the advantage and I don’t see that changing. It’s a great challenge in order to guard dudes on a nightly basis.

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