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Nets Make a Change, Respond with Wins 12.30.12 - 12:43pm

by Devon Jeffreys

The Brooklyn Nets shocked the NBA on Thursday when they announced the dismissal of Avery Johnson as coach.

After a 11-4 November that saw them climb to the top of the Eastern Conference, Brooklyn was just 3-10 in the month of December culminating in an embarrassing double-digit loss in Milwaukee on Wednesday night.

Stack, who played just eight minutes in that loss and went 1-of-5 from the field for two points, was caught off guard by the move and believes it was too soon to judge Johnson based on the team's body of work.

"We had a bad month in December with a new team that's just coming together; maybe you go another month and figure out which team is really which," Stack told The Daily News. "But they decided to go in a different direction. It's tough because I'm an Avery guy. I believe in his system. I've seen his system win at a high level with a team (Dallas) that's not as talented as the group we have now."

But the Nets responded well to the shock, bouncing back with back-to-back wins over the Charlotte Bobcats and Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday and Saturday.

Stack continued to struggle with his shot in the 97-81 win over Charlotte, missing all four he took and finishing with just two rebounds in nine minutes of action. But he found a rhythm a day later.

Playing in the second game of a back-to-back for just the second time this season, Jerry knocked down three of his five shots for eight points.

Stack scored eight points on 3-of-5 from the field in the 103-100 win over the Cavs on Saturday (Getty Images).

The contributions were a big part of a 28-point night for the Brooklyn bench in the 103-100 victory. Stack, one of the veteran leaders in the Nets locker room told SNY after the win that he was happy with the way the team has responded to adversity.

"Winning a couple gets your confidence back and hopefully we can go out and get a couple of big wins and I think that will really do us some good," he said. "We still make mistakes, we make mistakes defensively, we're still missing some extra passes and stuff in our offense that I think would make the game a little easier but we're being encouraging instead of kinda putting our heads down and chastising guys we're kinda lifting them up and that's a conscious effort and I think that goes a long ways."

According to Stack, what the Nets can't do is get to high or low on themselves and let emotions dictate the way they perform. Instead they must approach each game with a consistent attitude and not let expectations one way or another get in the way of results.

"We've regressed a bit from the first month we've had but I think overall, we're still building our team," he said. "We have a long ways to go, I think where we are right now, we're going to have some growing pains. I mean, it's New York and everybody expects everything to happen right away, but we're realistic about that and where we are and we know we have to continue to build month to month to month."

The Nets have a chance this week to show the progress they've made as they head on the road to take on the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder.

While getting wins over Charlotte Cleveland was important, Stack knows the Nets can expect a higher level of competition on their road trip. It's up to them to keep improving and show they're capable of contending.

"Not playing any real good teams, that helps, too. Respectively, they are just not the caliber of teams we're going to go out and play on the road," he said. "But we're playing with a little bit more spirit than we have of late… As long as there is some marked improvement over the next few weeks, over the next few months, hopefully, we'll be one of those teams that's contending."

Tip-off in San Antonio on Monday night is scheduled for 6 p.m. EST and the game can be seen on YES Network. Wednesday's game in OKC tips at 8 p.m. on YES.


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