There was a bit of dissension in the Nets' locker room Tuesday night after their big win over the Bulls in Chicago.
The topic was a cinderblock-sized piece of carrot cake that was being devoured by rookie Markel Brown as Brook Lopez talked to the media about his monster 29-point game. A few players were giving Brown a hard time about the size of his slice, and the rookie fired back, "It's healthy. Seriously, carrot cake is a vegetable."
One thing that was not up for debate was that the Nets recorded a very healthy win over an elite team in the Bulls. The Nets (15-16) have won five of their last six games. In their previous two seasons, they were able to rally around early January wins over Oklahoma City. Now they hope this will have the same impact.
"It can, but we got to keep going,'' point guard Deron Williams said. "We can't be content with this win.''
Said Lopez: "I think we've been capable of putting together an effort like this throughout the year. We just haven't really sustained it the entire game, but we did tonight. And we can be a lot better than this."
A win in Orlando on Friday would bring the Nets' record to .500 for the first time since Nov. 13, when they were 4-4. Five of the Nets' next six games are against teams with sub-.500 records, so there is an opportunity to get the new year off to a good start.
"We just want to continue to ride this wave and build off this win," Joe Johnson said. "I thought it was a great way for us to close off the year."
This does, however, remain a team with some issues, most notably the lack of production from their two most expensive players, Lopez and Williams, who reportedly have been on the trading block.
Williams, who shot 1-for-8 coming off the bench against the Bulls, likely will continue to come off the bench.
Lopez, however, could be another story. He was handed a golden opportunity against the Bulls when Lionel Hollins decided to start him in place of 38-year-old Kevin Garnett, who was rested in the second game of a back-to-back. Lopez made the most of it, producing his best game of the season.
Johnson stopped short of praising Lopez's effort; he maintains he doesn't like to single out players in what should be a team effort. But it was clear he was pleased by what he saw on the United Center floor.
"We're improving,'' Johnson said. "We're just trying to do whatever we can to go out there and win games. I think guys are really sacrificing and doing whatever it takes, and that's what it's all about."