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No one is laughing at the Nets anymore

The Nets heard all the jokes and laughter, predictions they’d be among the worst teams in the restart. And they took it to heart.

It just made the chip on their collective shoulders grow bigger and bigger.

“Most definitely. Everybody was laughing at us saying the Nets were going to look like this and seeing things all over the internet saying we weren’t going to do this,” Jeremiah Martin said. “So we just take that every day, every practice, keeping that chip on our shoulder, proving everybody wrong and showing everybody who we are.”

Their latest proof was a 108-96 win over Orlando to improve to 5-2 in the restart.

They got game-highs of 24 points from both Martin and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to lead a balanced attack with six scorers in double-figures.

Dzanan Musa had 17 points and six assists, both career highs. And Chris Chiozza added five assists, a career-high four steals and no turnovers before leaving with an adductor injury.

The Nets have surprised everyone during the NBA bubble restart.
The Nets have surprised everyone during the NBA bubble restart.NBAE via Getty Images

The Nets reeled off 16 unanswered points to build a 29-17 lead with 2:52 left in the first quarter. They held the Magic scoreless for 2:44 and 0-for-8 from the floor, while they hit all five of their shots — including 4-for-4 from deep.

Luwawu-Cabarrot had 17 points on 6 of 8 shooting to give the Nets a 34-22 lead after the first.

Martin had 12 points in the second, his pull-up jumper putting Brooklyn ahead 57-36 with 2:18 left in the half. The Nets cruised the rest of the way, the only negatives being Justin Anderson’s shooting (0-for-12 from deep) and Chiozza’s injury.

“We’ll take a look, adductor, a little tightness, so no reason for us to put him back in the game with Jeremiah’s minutes we had available. So he’ll get looked at, and hopefully all is clear,” interim coach Jacque Vaughn said.

“I’m going to stay positive and say Chiozza will be just fine. But at the same time, Jeremiah is growing confident in himself and definitely with his teammates. We’re playing Caris [LeVert] right now at the one, so there’s some minutes to be had there. But overall we think Chris is going to be OK.”

Martin also downplayed the injury.

“It’d be a great opportunity for me to be able to play, especially in the playoffs. I know [Chiozza] isn’t hurt,” Martin said. “I know he’s going to be able to play.”

The Athletic reiterated Post reports that the Nets will start their coaching search in earnest, and that Vaughn will get a real look for the job.

Tyronn Lue, Jason Kidd and Jeff Van Gundy have all been linked to the job. The Athletic also mentioned 76ers assistant Ime Udoka, an assistant along with Nets general manager Sean Marks on the Spurs’ 2014 title squad.

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