Film Study: The Nets played good defense?

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

One day after we published a film breakdown showing just how bad the Nets' defense was against the Spurs Tuesday night, they post arguably their best defensive performance of the season against the Thunder. Their defense was shaky at times, but overall, especially during the fourth quarter, it was on point against one of the best offensive teams in the league.

The Nets forced the Thunder to commit 21 turnovers, and scored 26 points off of those turnovers. Down the stretch, mostly, the Nets defense was beautiful. The Thunder didn't score for five minutes and 35 seconds during the fourth quarter; the Nets proceeded to go on a 14-0 run and took their first lead dating back to the early second quarter.

Nets Defense Against the Spurs = Yuck

Nets Defense Against the Spurs = Yuck

During this cold stretch by Oklahoma City, they targeted Kevin Durant nearly every trip down the floor. Shaun Livingston played great defense on the three-time scoring champion in the final minutes, and the entire Nets defense chipped in as well.

In this particular set, the Thunder in bound the ball trying to get a mismatch with Deron Williams on Kevin Durant. The Nets double Durant and play solid help defense that leads to a contested three-pointer from Perry Jones III.

Kevin Garnett isn't as explosive as he once was, but his defensive fundamentals are still there. He played fine help defense during these crucial sequences, as seen in the last play. Here he reads the Serge Ibaka screen beautifully and forces a Durant turnover.

Durant got very frustrated with the Nets pestering defense late in the game. The play after that one, he tries to take Livingston off the dribble, but travels. The Nets defense clearly got the best of the league's best scorer.

During one of the game's final sequences, the Nets held a two-point lead. Scott Brooks' drew up a fine play to get his number one option the ball, but the Nets play tough defense. As the ball gets passed around the perimeter, the Nets follow it, and stay in fine position (As noted in yesterday's breakdown, the Nets did an awful job of following the ball on the floor against the Spurs).

This was a huge stop for the Nets-even though the game would be tied at 93 following the next play-who showed great defensive skill here.

It hasn't been there often this season, but this type of defense is simple, and easy to play. The Nets need to keep up this effort to mimic the great game they had last night. Looking at their late-game effort against the Thunder, I'm not ready to call them title contenders just yet, but this could be a type of game that makes them realize they aren't done yet.

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