The Brooklyn Nets answered their own call Thursday night.
It was a call that began in the visitor’s locker room in the Moda Center Wednesday night after an embarrassing 44-point loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.
It was a call that was repeated, not emotionally but with intensity, when the Nets went through the film of that 124-80 loss in the team hotel Thursday afternoon.
Coach Jason Kidd pointed out the errors, but he wasn’t alone. Players also spoke up - pointing out the mistakes, the lack of effort - vowing that such a performance would not be tolerated again.
If there were questions about the Nets' character, perhaps they were answered Thursday night in a demolition of a depleted Denver Nuggets team.
The Nets (27-29) held the Nuggets (25-32) to eight points in the first quarter, taking a 21-point lead and never looking back.
The eight points are the fewest scored in the first quarter by any team in the NBA this season. And they are the fewest a Nets opponent has scored in the first quarter since the Utah Jazz scored seven in December of 2008.
The leaders led the way, not with stats but with actions and words of action.
Kevin Garnett told Kidd after the Portland loss he wanted to play in the second of back-to-back games. Kidd, trying to have KG healthy and rested for the playoffs, has limited KG in back-to-backs.
Garnett told the media after the Portland game that such a loss at this point of the season is unacceptable.
“He’s a character guy,’’ Kidd said of KG. “We didn’t play at the level we wanted to in Portland. I think for him, he’s a competitor and he wants to get things going back in the right direction.’’
Paul Pierce and Deron Williams echoed KG’s feelings. They were not alone. All 10 Nets that saw playing time in the first half scored.
“I think not just those two were angry or upset,’’ said Kidd. “The whole team should be upset about the performance.’’
They were. And Denver, with an injury list that could scale the Rockies, was no match for the Nets. The Nets led 59-36 at halftime, matching their largest halftime lead of the season.
Pierce led the Nets with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Newly-acquired Marcus Thornton scored 10 as all 13 Nets scored.
As embarrassing as the Portland loss was, the Nets have an excellent chance to close this road trip with a 4-2 record.
They play the Bucks in Milwaukee Saturday night. Milwaukee (11-46) has the worst record in the NBA.
A win against the Bucks and the Nets, playing their first game in Barclays Center since Feb. 12 when they beat the Charlotte Bobcats, will have a chance to get back to .500 for the first time since Nov. 5.