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Lopez, Nets see themselves in a better position by January

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets improved their record to 5-13 after winning their fourth straight at home Tuesday night versus the Phoenix Suns.

The 5-13 record, as Andy Vasquez notes, matches the same record they had during this point of the season two seasons ago. They ended up making the second round of the playoffs and battling the Heat in a tough series against the former "Big Three".

Things only got worse for that team before ever getting better. They fell 11 games under .500 by December 31 with an injured Lopez sitting out the rest of the season.

Of course, the difference was that the Nets had guys like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Deron Williams.

But thinking back, what does that even mean?

They didn't have Brook Lopez. Pierce was essentially nonexistent during the early stages of the season, and Garnett was nothing more than a seven & seven type of player.

"We've been saying it the whole time: We don't believe our record reflects our team at all," Lopez said. "I definitely don't think we're going to be where we are right now [record-wise] in January."

Now with the Nets winning a couple of games, certain players, namely Shane Larkin & Wayne Ellington have been forced to step up off the bench.

"We had a lead," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. "And Lionel went with Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington and it hurt us."

So really, it might not be that bad here, a punch line used to describe a horrible start to the season. After winning four straight at home, the Nets are looking at a month of December in which they play nine of the next 14 games at home.

They'll play only 11 games on the road in months of December and January.

"Hopefully we'll see the environment continue to grow and turn in our favor as we continue to be successful," Lopez said of the Nets' home-court success. "It's gonna be a huge advantage for us down the stretch as we fill those seats & get more people rooting us on because it was huge late."

Only winning can make that happen. Therefore if Brooklyn continues to succeed at home, things might not seem as bad as they once appeared to be in the month of November, where the Nets played nine of 14 games on the road.

"I think we were battle tested early," Jack said of November's road-heavy schedule. "It's kinda set our minds to grind these type of games out that aren't the prettiest or ones make us fight back. It makes us show some resolve; show what type of personality the team has."