What a difference a day makes, right? Less than 24 hours after getting demolished by the Portland Trail Blazers, the Nets blew out the Denver Nuggets. The 67-point turnaround was the third highest points swing from loss to win in successive nights in NBA history. To go even further, that is the largest turnaround in Nets' history.
One thing to take into account from the two games is that the Blazers are pretty good, but the Nuggets are pretty, pretty bad. Both teams were short-handed in their respective games against the Nets, but the Nuggets couldn't even compete in their contest last night.
The biggest difference between the two games, though, was the Nets themselves. Brooklyn didn't even show up on Wednesday, but were the aggressor on Thursday. The Nets came out of the gate fine on Wednesday, but faded as the game continued and it ballooned to 24-point deficit by halftime. Brooklyn looked like a completely different team against Denver, though, building a double-digit lead early, and was up 23 going into the break.
What was seen on Thursday that wasn't seen on Wednesday was ball movement. The Nets saw the game getting away from them in Portland and the likes of Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce tried to get the team back into it, but their shot wasn't falling and the Nets reverted to their unsuccessful isolation scheme. The Nets finished with 18 assists on Wednesday. Thursday's game saw the Nets share the ball freely with no player breaking double digits in the first half despite the team scoring 59 points. The Nets finished this one with 28 assists with 10 of the 13 Nets scoring at least 8 points.
It's clear what makes the Nets go, and that is everyone getting involved. These past two nights have been great examples. One night several players try to take control of the game while on the other night, the team swings the ball around the floor and one player wants their teammate to score more than they want to score themselves.
Both games the Nets played in had their opponent lacking depth, but also size. Against Portland, though, the Nets played timid and let the Blazers clean the glass. They grabbed 53 rebounds to the Nets 29. The Nets have had their fair share of rebounding woes throughout the season, but with a fairly undersized team in Portland—especially with LaMarcus Aldridge out—the Nets shouldn't lose the rebounding battle by 24.
In contrast, the Nets grabbed 43 rebounds against the Nuggets. They crashed the glass and everyone made a collective effort to try and get the ball off of a shot. They did not grab as many boards as the Nuggets, they had 45 rebounds, but it is clear that when the Nets crash the boards they better their chances of winning.
It may be more concerning to see the Nets lose to a solid team in Portland than beat down on a poor team in Denver. For them to compete like they aspire to, they need to beat a team like the Blazers. Either way, the Nets saved face by splitting this back-to-back and have a shot at going over .500 on their biggest road trip of the season. This historic turnaround is a great building block for the Nets, for they've seen what a difference a night makes, and can build off of it.