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Nets trying to find consistency and communication during break

It’s way too early to declare the Nets’ slump over, premature to assume they’ve fixed whatever sent their season sideways.

But it’s rare to get a chance to reset on the fly during the packed NBA season, and — between a players-only film session and a three-day span between games — they’ve gotten not one but two. Can these opportunities become a turning point when the Nets (10-18) finally build some much-needed consistency?

“We certainly hope so, that’s for sure. If we can put something together and go on a five-game win streak or something like that, then yeah, we’d look back to that and point to that as a turning point in the season. Right now that’s obviously too early, but we are looking to start some consistency,” guard Spencer Dinwiddie said.

“Even though we won the past two games, it reared it’s head in those games, too,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. “But the good thing is we’re on the same page in terms of what we need to do to get better. It’s just correcting those mistakes when the pressure’s on.”

It shows just how far the Nets have to go that they’ll take the NBA’s sixth-worst record into Philadelphia on Wednesday, and this is the best they’ve looked in weeks.

Mired in an eight-game losing skid, they held a players-only film session at Thursday’s practice. It wasn’t about airing grievances but fixing mistakes, improving communication. The result was upsetting league-leading Toronto on Friday and beating the rival Knicks at the Garden for an encore the next night.

Kenny Atkinson
Kenny AtkinsonAP

“People thought we were airing out differences and stuff like that. It wasn’t like that. It literally was a film session,” Dinwiddie said. “We discussed basketball. We kept it there.

“We did find some things. It just enhances our communication from player to player which is something you definitely need down the stretch because obviously on the court it’s only us five. Kenny can call out things, but we still have to be able to be in sync.”

And the most important step to being in sync is communicating. From fouling shooters, protecting the ball, shot selection, many of those little plays come down to communication.

“It was very beneficial for us to be able to talk about things and voice our own opinion and how we feel about certain things. It was really good,” Rondae Hollis-Jefferson said. “Just taking that mindset, going into the game feeling fresh and feeling like we can say certain things and we can hold each other accountable, it’s pretty good.

“That’s a big part of the game that a lot people lack in and a lot of people don’t pay too much attention to. I feel like the better we communicate — it’s a life game, too. You just want to express yourself, be able say how you feel [and have] people understand it. You can be speaking English and it sounds like a foreign language to certain people. To understand how to communicate, it’s needed in this game.”

The Nets enjoy a mini minicamp, not playing until Wednesday. It’s an unusually long stretch matched only be their three days between the Dec. 29 game in Milwaukee and Jan. 2 tilt against visiting New Orleans.

“You don’t even know how to deal with it, it’s so rare,” Atkinson said. “Happy obviously with the wins, but we still have a lot of areas to improve in terms of closing out games. I even felt the Knicks game we made some mistakes. So it’s a great time to teach.

“It’s better to teach through a win, dealing with protecting a lead, protecting the ball when we have a lead, taking good shots, defensive execution. Even in a win we can continue to teach. So we’re going to continue to do that, and it’s a great opportunity these couple of days.”

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