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On Monday night, Brooklyn Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn led the team to their ninth straight win with a 125-117 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
That pushed the team to 22-12 and third place in the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn now only trails the conference-leading Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Nets were led by All-Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who both dropped 32 points on the Cavaliers. Every point was needed as Cleveland’s Darius Garland went off, scoring 46 in a losing effort.
Durant and Irving are now all smiles after a turbulent start to the season.
In the offseason, both appeared to be on their way out of Brooklyn before the parties finally reconciled.
To top it off, the Nets were the cellar dwellers of the East.
Ultimately, Kyrie was suspended and, with the team sitting at 2-5, head coach Steve Nash was fired and assistant coach Jacque Vaughn was elevated to the team’s acting head coach.
Aside from keeping Durant and Irving, promoting Vaughn to head coach has been Brooklyn’s best decision to date.
The former NBA player has opened the offense up, and Brooklyn’s two superstars have responded in kind. Durant is averaging 30 ppg, his highest since the 2013-14 season when he won NBA MVP as a member of the OKC Thunder. And Kyrie, since returning from his eight-game suspension, looks reinvigorated, averaging a better-than-career average of 26 ppg.
Now everyone is raving once again about Brooklyn, yet where is the praise for coach Vaughn?
Under Vaughn, the Nets have gone 20-7 and are challenging for conference supremacy. More importantly, the cloud of drama that plagued the team for so long has evaporated, allowing Brooklyn the chance to breathe, replenish and flex their star talent.
That type of change deserves recognition and appreciation.
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