The New Jersey Nets must have been listening when Jason Kidd questioned their desire to win during a six-game losing streak.
Now riding a three-game win streak, Kidd and the Nets look to extend the run to a season-high four consecutive victories when they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday.
After winning four of five games to start the season, New Jersey (7-7) dropped six straight from Nov. 10-19 by an average of 15.1 points.
Kidd challenged his teammates during the skid, telling the media that the Nets have a tendency of "letting go of the rope" and playing with a "glass jaw."
Soon after Kidd's comments, the Nets shot a season-high 53.7 percent from the field to end their slide with a 106-101 road victory over Portland on Wednesday. They followed that with a 98-93 victory at Seattle on Friday and a 102-100 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday in the finale of a four-game Western Conference road trip.
"J. Kidd said it best. I wouldn't even disagree when he said our team has a 'glass jaw' about a week ago," said Richard Jefferson, New Jersey's leading scorer with a career-high 25.1 points per game. "Teams would hit and we would just fall down. But I think guys have stepped up and taken the challenge, and we're showing more fight."
Jefferson had 27 points in Sunday's win while helping limit Lakers star Kobe Bryant to 7-for-21 shooting from the field. Kidd added 15 points and 14 assists, and Vince Carter came off the bench to score 19.
Carter has been used as a reserve in three straight games after missing the final five games of New Jersey's losing streak with a badly sprained right ankle. He could return to the starting lineup Tuesday.
Even with Carter - the team's leading scorer last season - still limited, the Nets are shooting 49.8 percent from the field and averaging 102.0 points during their current run.
"Every time the captain speaks up, the guys know it's a wakeup call for you," said reserve forward Bostjan Nachbar, who has averaged 16.0 points on 48.5 percent shooting during the win streak after scoring just 7.8 on 32.7 shooting during the skid. "It was for me, and since then, everybody has stepped up."
The Nets return home to meet the Grizzlies (4-9), losers of five straight road games since winning their road opener Nov. 7.
Memphis, though, is coming off a 124-118 home win over Washington on Saturday. The Grizzlies shot 52.6 percent from the field and made 13 of their 29 3-point attempts. Juan Carlos Navarro, who joined Memphis from Spain in the offseason, went 10-of-14 from the field and 5-of-8 from behind the arc to match his season high with 28 points.
Navarro is part of a revamped Memphis backcourt that also includes second-year point guard Kyle Lowry, who had his rookie season cut short last November when he suffered a season-ending wrist injury. Lowry had 17 points off the bench Saturday and helped the Grizzlies to a season-high 25 fast-break points.
"I thought Lowry was a key to that," Grizzlies coach Mark Iavaroni said. "He made progress tonight, even though he did get six turnovers. I think he was instrumental in the stretch when we took the lead."
The Grizzlies lost both of their meetings with the Nets last season by at least 10 points. Carter scored 37 points and Kidd had a triple-double as the Nets cruised to a 105-92 home victory Dec. 11.
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