The New Jersey Nets dropped their fifth game in a row Tuesday night to the Atlanta Hawks 116-101 and for long stretches looked pretty bad doing it. A losing streak like this makes it easy to find the negative, but first here are the three good stats to take away from the loss in Atlanta.
1. 16 Points
It's not the kind of game that will make anyone think the Nets signed Kobe Bryant away from the Lakers, but Jordan Farmar seems to finally be playing the kind of basketball that was expected when New Jersey plucked him from the NBA Champions.
Starting with the game Devin Harris left early due to a knee injury, Farmar has looked much more like the aggressive player we saw in the preseason. In fact, since that game against the Knicks he has had the best offensive stretch of his career. Over those five games Farmar is averaging 18.6 points.
There aren't many positives to take away from this losing streak, but finding a consistent scoring option on the bench is certainly one.
2. 16 Free Throw Attempts
Forget 3, against the Hawks 16 it the magic number. It didn't get the Nets a win, but again delivered a bright spot.
When Devin Harris returned from his knee injury on Sunday against the Celtics, he looked tentative anytime he took the ball into the lane. Hard to blame him after the fall he took against the Knicks, but that was gone Tuesday night. Harris knew that his shot wasn't falling so he made sure to get himself to the line and the end result was the most free throws he has taken in a game since Nov. 27... 2009.
Harris' aggressiveness is a good sign both for a team that has struggled to get to the charity stripe all season and for a point guard that wasn't sure how long he would worry about his knee.
3. 10 Points, 6 Rebounds In 19 Minutes
Against the Hawks, James was good for those career-high 10 points thanks to the best shooting night of his career as he was 5 for 9 from the floor.
Avery Johnson has yet to settle on a way to distribute the bench minutes beyond Farmar and Derrick Favors so it will be interesting to see if James has earned more time or if he will go back to the end of the bench with Terrence Williams returning Thursday night in Dallas.