2006_03skrstic.jpgAlthough they are in no position to quibble, the Nets won't be putting Wednesday's 78-65 victory over visiting Portland in a time capsule. They shot 39 percent from the floor, saw Jason Kidd be held scoreless in regular season game for the first time as a Net and relied heavily on their defense to win the game. Still, they've won three straight and have shown some signs that their struggles may be in the rear view mirror.

For one, their defense has looked much sharper of late. They held Portland to five points in the fourth quarter. Some of that falls on Portland's impotent effort, but credit should also be given to the Nets defense, which tightened up and shut down Zach Randolph after he feasted for three quarters. Nenad Krstic's 20 points also helped. With Kidd battling a cold, Krstic's offense came as a welcome replacement. As it stands now, the Nets hold the division lead (four games over Philadelphia) and the third best record in the conference. WIth little hope of catching Miami for the second seed, Gothamist hopes the Nets just iron the kinks out in time to make a run for the playoffs.

Photo by Bill Kostroun (AP) via Yahoo