The Brooklyn Nets will try to continue their great play under new head coach P.J. Carlesimo Tuesday night when they visit the Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia 76ers.
The Nets are 5-1 since they relieved Avery Johnson of his head coaching duties. Carlesimo has always employed a no-nonsense approach throughout his career and the Nets have indicated they appreciate his style.
"The straight-forward approach, when you're not winning, is 'he's too hard on us.' When you're winning, it's good," Carlesimo said after practice on Monday. "I appreciate the way the players have responded so far. I honestly think a lot of that is spin."
Carlesimo has got the Nets rolling offensively. Since he took over, Brooklyn has averaged 101.8 ppg, which is 7.3 point per game higher than its season average. The only loss came in San Antonio to the Spurs, but the Nets have won three in a row, including two on the road.
Their most recent victory came at home Saturday night against the Sacramento Kings. The Nets drubbed the Kings, 113-93, thanks to a great team effort scoring-wise.
Brook Lopez led the way with 18 points, followed by 15 apiece from Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Andray Blatche and MarShon Brooks. The last two came off the bench, as did the surprising performance from Mirza Teletovic, who had 14 in a reserve role.
After Tuesday's trip to Philly, the Nets play their next three at the Barclays Center.
The Sixers are just happy to be home.
Philly played its last eight games on the road, dating back before Christmas. They went 2-6 on the trek with wins over the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Lakers.
But the Sixers are losers of three straight. They averaged 86.6 ppg in losses to the Phoenix Suns, Oklahoma City Thunder and Spurs.
The 76ers play 13 of their next 15 at home and can see some improvement on the horizon, not just because they can sleep in their own beds for a while.
Andrew Bynum, the star center the Sixers acquired in the offseason, is progressing, albeit slowly. But Bynum is working on a treadmill and stated on Monday he still believes he will play this season.
"I'm sensing in him better energy," said head coach Doug Collins. "He's starting to sense there is light at the end of the tunnel. He's been through a lot of setbacks. He, in his mind, feels like he's getting better and that's the most important thing."
The Nets beat the Sixers, 95-92 on Dec. 23, which was the start of Philadelphia's long road odyssey. Brooklyn has won its last two in Philadelphia.