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Nets start fast — just what Kenny Atkinson wants to see

Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson shoots over Pacers forward

Nets forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson shoots over Pacers forward Bojan Bogdanovic during a game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017. Credit: AP / Aj Mast

INDIANAPOLIS — Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said before the start of Saturday’s game at Indiana that he was looking for continued fast starts from his team. The Nets jumped out to an early lead over Washington on Friday, en route to their biggest win of the season, ending a four-game losing streak.

“Just the way our first unit started off right from the tip — they got after it, defended, got stops and got out and ran,” Atkinson said. “I like that we drove the ball to the rim. We’ve been lagging in that area. Defensively it was just a much better effort. Hopefully we can repeat it.”

They did.

The Nets jumped out to an early lead Saturday and led by 16 at the half. The Pacers were hot in the second half, and the Nets lost, 123-119, in overtime.

“I think the challenge is to do it a little more consistently,” Atkinson said. “I’m not sure why those previous four games we didn’t have that energy level. Hopefully, this gets us back on track.”

Dinwiddie with career performance

Spencer Dinwiddie’s 26 points were a career high. He finished 8-for-20 from the field, including 5-for-11 on three-pointers. Dinwiddie also had a team-high eight assists. He’s averaging 13 points per game.

Performance team can help with back-to-backs

The role of the Nets’ performance team of health specialists — who track and monitor data related to players eating, sleeping and performance habits — has been well-documented.

When Nets general manager Sean Marks brought the performance team in at the start of last season, part of the group’s job was to help prepare players specifically for nights like Saturday — the second half of a back-to-back.

“Our performance team is all over those guys,” Atkinson said. “They do more off the court than they do on the court. During the season, it’s preparing to play. That’s a big part of it and we put a big emphasis on it, whether it’s in the weight room, cold tub, warm tub, massage, correctives, it’s a big part of what we do. We demand a lot out of those guys and we hope it pays off on nights like this.”


After shooting 52.4 percent from the field (22-for-42) in the first half Saturday against the Pacers, the Nets managed just 35.7 percent (20-for-56) in the second half and overtime . . . The Nets gave up two big third-quarter runs to the Pacers, yielding a 13-2 run to open the period and allowing a 15-2 spurt that led to Indiana’s first lead since a 3-2 first-quarter advantage.

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