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Brooklyn Nets defense is getting better as 2014 progresses

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Devin Kharpertian takes a look at what everyone has noticed, but few have analyzed: the Nets defense has been key to the team's newfound success.  And what's he's also found, as born out by the statistics, is that the defense is getting better as the season has gone on ... perhaps because it's infectious.

Brooklyn's defense has rung in the new year by limiting shot attempts and wreaking havoc with their new hybrid small/long lineup. Brooklyn's created a ridiculous 118 turnovers in their last five games alone, and their opponent turnover rate of 19.2 percent since the new year leads the league by a comfortable margin.

And despite his role as anchor of the Nets defense, this improvement is not all about Kevin Garnett. Beyond noting that Garnett has been out during this stretch of suggest, Kharpertian adds that Mason Plumlee has filled in more than capably for KG.

It's not just the Garnett factor either, either: the Nets lineup this past week, with rookie seven-footer Mason Plumlee replacing Garnett at center with Garnett battling back spasms, has created a ridiculous 36 turnovers in the (very!) small sample size of 71 minutes.

Plumlee spoke this week to the YES Network's Matthew Stucko about how much Garnett has helped him, encouraged him ... which of course means helping the Nets as a whole.