Perhaps New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov announcing the end of the month-long trade talks with the Denver Nuggets regarding the highly sought-after Carmelo Anthony before holding a special "Russian Culture Night" at the Prudential Center stole the spotlight from what would ordinarily be big news: the Nets scored 105 points to beat the Utah Jazz, currently the fifth seed in the Western Conference.
This victory, only their second in the past 10 games, was easily one of their most convincing wins of the season. Seven players for the Nets cracked double figures in scoring, including rookie Brook Lopez (20PTS 6RBS) and newly acquired guard Sasha Vujacic (15PTS 7RBS).
For the Nets, 105 points is considered an explosion, a gem if you will. Averaging only about 92 points a night on the season, 29th in the league, it is not surprising that this effort came only hours after it was announced that the Nets would no longer pursue a trade for Carmelo Anthony.
Almost half of the team was mentioned in the latest trade rumor, which undoubtedly affected the team's morale on the court.
In a post-game interview, a relieved Devin Harris said, "We're going to have less distractions now and just puts our minds at ease."
Even Prokhorov admitted in his press conference, "The uncertainty has taken a toll on the players ... and I believe it has cost us several games."
With all of the air cleared, the Nets can finally relax and work on developing their young talent and team chemistry on the floor. This includes paying more attention to Favors, who recently took over for Kris Humphries at the starting power forward spot.
According to YES announcer Ian Eagle, coach Avery Johnson reportedly sat down with Favors to help him focus his mind on playing and letting go of all the trade anxieties.
This meeting seems to have had a positive effect on the young rookie, who put up 12 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 3 blocks in what was clearly one of his best performances of the season.
Hopefully the revived Nets can continue this inspired play, which would definitely lead to more wins in the second half of the season.
After the All-Star break, the Nets face an easier schedule with more home games and expect to see Anthony Morrow and Damion James return to action. All of these factors should lead to a respectable record come April.
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