NEW YORK — The Brooklyn Nets have not played good basketball over the past month and as a result, they find themselves in danger of falling out of the Eastern Conference playoff race. However, last week’s trip to Paris as part of the NBA Paris Game may be the reset that gets the Nets back on track.
“The mission was to go win a basketball game, we didn’t get that accomplished,” Brooklyn head coach Jacque Vaughn said prior to Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day matchup against the Miami Heat.
The Nets lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday in Paris, but a furious comeback in the second half gave Brooklyn the chance to steal the win. Vaughn saw more to the trip than just playing a typical regular-season game.
“The piece of being around each other and seeing each other’s families, spending time and seeing the human side of all of us, that part was unique and can’t be substituted,” Vaughn said. “The fact that we had two great days of practice and we’re able to do that in the middle of the year, not around the All-Star break or something of that nature, is rare. The fact that we played one game in five days is rare also. So, there are a lot of things that makes that trip unique, but I love that we were part of the international game.”
Now that Brooklyn has gotten a substantial break after looking like a team that needed some rest prior to their trip to Paris, they have to buckle down and string together some wins if they want to remain in the playoff picture.
While the instinct of most is to save the trips until after the work is done, Vaughn saw the entire experience as an opportunity for the team to grow, rest, and build some camaraderie. “I think overall we’re a better team because of it,” Vaughn explained.