Brooklyn Nets head Jacque Vaughn has been trying to change the culture of the team ever since he took over for Steve Nash earlier this season. Vaughn is big on keeping things simple and is even bigger on trust.
In Sunday’s 120-116 win over the Golden State Warriors, Vaughn had to trust his players to recover from being down 17 points to the defending champs as opposed to throwing in the towel with one more game on this road trip left. In the first half, Brooklyn had trouble keeping up with Golden State in transition and that led to the Warriors getting points in bunches.
Things changed in the second half as the Nets were able to limit the Warriors’ transition opportunities and curtailed what they were able to do in the paint. Vaughn has trusted Kyrie Irving, who had 38 points and nine assists, to make the right decision during this time without Kevin Durant and Irving delivered with a dime to a wide-open Royce O’Neale to effectively end the game. Vaughn spoke postgame about what a game like this can do for the group as the season progresses:
“Yeah, Nick (Friedell of ESPN), it means a lot because, you get in a position where I think we’re starting to figure some things out. And, so, that’s evidence to our guys what it looks like down the stretch, what our defense looks like. It’s a tough team (the Warriors) to play against, no style is like theirs. So, your approach to the game has to be spot on. I think we settled in and did some really good things in the second half. So, we’ve had some quarters that we’ve been able to string together and we want to stack some more quarters together. But, it means a lot to finish the trip. Especially, you’re down at halftime, not give in and be mentally tough enough to get it done.”