The Nets came home Monday after the first 5-0 western trip in team history, part of a league-high six-game winning streak.
It’s a bounce-back for the Nets, who had bottomed out with a humiliating loss in Detroit. From that point — just 14-12 and mired in a three-game losing skid — they’ve become the hottest team in basketball and a favorite to reach the NBA Finals. How did that happen?
They’re figuring out the defense, particularly switching.
Brooklyn has doubled down on that even more since trading for James Harden.
Before Harden’s arrival, the Nets were switching picks 20 percent of the time, 3 percent above the league average. But through his first 14 games post-trade, that vaulted to 33 percent, which would lead the league this season according to Second Spectrum tracking. Going into Sunday’s win at the Clippers, they’d switched a staggering 41 percent of picks on the perfect western swing.
In many ways, it makes sense. Only three teams in the tracking era (since 2013-14) have switched over 40 percent — the Rockets the past three years, led by Harden and coached by current Nets assistant Mike D’Antoni.
“They switch 1-through-5 when Jeff Green is at the 5, and they switch 1-through-4 and drop when DeAndre [Jordan] is in the game. But the matchup that you think they wouldn’t switch, they do switch,” said Clippers coach Ty Lue. “It makes teams stagnant.”
Steve Nash is growing…