Surging Nets outlast Wizards for sixth win in seven games

NBA

Networks embrace radical truth.

And real talk leads to real wins.

Brooklyn routed woeful Washington 124-97 in front of a crowd of 16,587 at Barclays Center on Friday night. It was the Nets’ sixth win in their last seven games and was the perfect way to cap off a long West Coast streak.

And the Nets — who led by as many as 30 points in improving to 12-9 — credit their recent success to Jacque Vaughn, who fosters an environment of player accountability and open communication in the locker room and off the court.

“We have a saying: radical truth. Everyone just went for it. We’re just being honest with each other, right, and no one takes it personally. We’re all just trying to play hard and win games,” said Day’Ron Sharp, who had a season-high 15 points and 11 boards off the bench.

The Nets cruised to a dominant 124-97 victory over the Wizards. Robert Szabo for the NY Post

“That’s the message from Day 1 of JV training camp. This is the first thing he wrote on the board: radical truth, radical transparency. Going into this season, we’re not hiding things from each other. We’re all trying to get better, we all want to win, we all want to be great. So we all try to accept that.”

The Nets had six scorers in double figures and opened the game with a 40-24 third quarter, their fourth 40-point stretch of the season.

Mikal Bridges had a game-high 21 points and never came off the bench in the fourth quarter.

He wasn’t needed as the Nets led by 19 after the third.

Cam Thomas scored 17 and Nick Claxton had a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 15 boards.

Mikal Bridges scored 21 points in the Nets’ win. Robert Szabo for the NY Post

The final period was bench-emptying time, with little-used Harry Giles III coming in and even scoring to make it 116-91 with 3:56 left.

The Nets held a stunning 76-56 advantage in points, falling just two short of tying the franchise record.

Of course, the Wizards (3-18) are terrible.

But Brooklyn is convinced that streak — during which it has the highest net rating in the league — is more of an epiphany than an aberration, and says it’s driven not only by honesty with each other, but also by a lack of offense .

“I want to try to create an environment where you can speak the truth and be transparent with each other. I want to train you this way,” Vaughn said. “Thus, our conversations, when you have any hesitation, just lean on it. This will lead you in the right direction. So our group really thought about it and really became honest and transparent with each other.

The Nets didn’t even need Mikal Bridges to play during the fourth quarter of Friday’s win. Robert Szabo for the NY Post

“I saw it multiple times in the Atlanta game, whether it was Royce (O’Neal) talking to somebody about multiple efforts, whether it was Mikal talking to somebody about organizing, whether it was the communication of watching a clip in a huddle. It was just a great space for us. It’s radical as far as what you usually see in the NBA, but I thought with this group, we can rely on that and it’s really going to make us better.”

This means engaging in open dialogue and communication, telling each other not only what they want to hear, but what they need to hear.

“Just being honest with each other, being able to hold each other accountable,” O’Neill said. “You don’t call in a bad way. We’re just helping each other. We can do better, in terms of each player, in terms of the team. Just be honest.”

The Nets trailed 62-57 after Jordan Poole’s layup, but then pulled away for good.

It was a 7-0 run that only took a minute.

Thomas’ running toe throw capped it and made it 69-57 midway through the third.

After coughing up the final six points of the first half to see what had been a nine-point lead dwindle to just three at the break, Brooklyn returned the favor and closed out the third.

The Nets’ 6-0 run — capped by a 3-pointer by Dorian Finney-Smith — padded the cushion to 90-71.




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