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Avery's Challenge: Winning Spirit(s)

The Nets are on pace to win 32 or 33 games, 40 per cent of their schedule...not the playoff pace promised by the new owner. They haven't settled on a starting lineup or even a rotation. Their highest paid player sat for the entire game vs. the Clippers. The coach is resisting calls to give the prize rookie more minutes.

So is he in trouble? Nope, not all. The reason is that Avery Johnson's biggest challenge is off the court and he seems to be succeeding at it. "Part of what I'm doing here is trying to change a mentality and change a losing spirit," Johnson said. That makes his GM, Billy King, quite pleased. "There's going to be growing pains, but you know it's clicked when it becomes habitual," King said.