Pierce's second trip to the power forward spot brought Brooklyn just its second victory in its last eight games. If the position change can give hope to the seemingly hopeless, the 36-year-old says he's all for it, via Tim Bontemps of the New York Post:
Maybe what you saw was going to be the future lineup. Maybe it’s going to be me playing the four [and] we spread the court. I told [the team], that was the second time we used that lineup and we’re 2-0 with that lineup. Maybe it’s a position change in the making for me — something that’s going to work for us, but who knows.
Individually, Pierce didn't play particularly well during his second stint at the 4. He scored 18 points, but shot just 6-of-18 from the field and 1-of-4 from distance.
But the important thing was that his team played well, a far more rare occurrence than anyone could have imagined when this super team was formed over the offseason. His Nets scored a 95-93 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, becoming just the third road team to claim a win inside Chesapeake Energy Arena this season.
Maybe this is a sign that better days are still ahead for Brooklyn. An unnerving 11-21 start hasn't been as damaging as it sounds; the Nets are still just two games back of the No. 8 seed Charlotte Bobcats.
The Nets have the talent to make some noise out East, even with All-Star big man Brook Lopez lost for the season with a broken foot.
As Bontemps noted, this small-ball group (albeit in a small sample size) has enjoyed the type of dominance that fans expected from this team. In 27 minutes together, Brooklyn's undersized lineup of Pierce, Deron Williams, Shaun Livingston, Joe Johnson and Kevin Garnett have enjoyed a 112.2 offensive rating and posted a 62.9 defensive rating. Both figures would comfortably lead the league if stretched out across the entire season.
But maybe this isn't a magic recipe. Perhaps, it's simply an anomaly produced during the ebb and flow of an 82-game season.
Either way, at least it's something different. I'm not sure how long Pierce could have withstood seeing more of the same:
Paul Pierce: "I don't think I've been a part of this many blowouts in one season already. It's extremely embarrassing.''— NBA Guru (@NBAGuru) January 2, 2014
Even false hopes are better than anything Nets fans have had to cling to this season.