By the numbers, Brooklyn Nets getting there

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets' win over the Pelicans highlighted two themes that have been increasingly evident during the team's 13-5 run since January 1 ... their bench and their defense.

With everyone but Brook Lopez now healthy --and a team filled with unselfish stars-- Jason Kidd has been moving his players around the NBA chess board. Only two Nets, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, average more than 30 minutes.That's given the rest of the roster a lot of minutes and given Kidd a new "weapon."

As Mike Mazzeo reports...

This season, Brooklyn’s bench ranks fourth in scoring (38.4), sixth in field-goal percentage (45.5), ninth in 3-point field-goal percentage (36.4), tied for first in rebounding (17.7) and tied for fourth in assists (8.0).

In the last 10 games, Nets reserves have averaged 48.3 points -- tops in the NBA.

Specifically, a number of players have taken advantage of the minutes. Mason Plumlee now leads all rookies in player efficiency ratings and Mirza Teletovic has become a threat not just beyond the three point line.

On defense, the numbers tell a similar story, as Brian Lewis writes...

They have done an excellent job of it since the calendar turned. The Nets have gone from being outscored by 4.8 points every 100 possessions to outscoring their opponents by 3.8, vaulting from 26th in the league to ninth.

And nowhere was the improvement more marked than on defense. Their defensive efficiency has risen from 28th to sixth since that Spurs loss, and they lead the NBA in steals over that span.

And it's all better at home. The Nets have won 10 of their past 12 at Barclays Center, 9 of 11 this calendar year. They get their next chance to show how friendly Barclays Center is on Wednesday when they play the hungry Bobcats.

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