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At 1-9, Nets have no loss of confidence

Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins reacts against

Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins reacts against the Milwaukee Bucks during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Barclays Center on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - They're 1-9 and they lost their last two games in excruciating fashion, but the Nets are feeling pretty good about themselves these days.

"I'm encouraged," coach Lionel Hollins said after the team practiced Monday in advance of Tuesday night's game at Barclays Center against the Atlanta Hawks.

"We're a much better team than we were at the start of the year the first four games. It's hard to win in this league and there's a lot you have to do, but we're coming along."

After earning their first win of the season Wednesday night in Houston, the Nets blew fourth-quarter leads at Sacramento and Golden State to finish their three-game trip 1-2. The game against the reigning NBA champion Warriors was particularly frustrating, as the Nets coughed up a 17-point second-quarter lead and still had three chances in the final seconds to win the game in regulation.

With 15 seconds remaining and a one-point lead, they got called for an eight-second violation when they couldn't advance the ball across midcourt in time. After Hollins told them to foul before a potential three-point attempt could be taken, they gave up a tying three-pointer by Andre Iguodala. Finally, Brook Lopez missed a point-blank layup at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime, where they ended up losing, 107-99.

"We easily should have been 3-0 on that road trip," Thaddeus Young said.

Rather than feeling frustrated, though, the Nets are choosing to think that their improved play -- Young said the intensity on defense is higher and the offense is more fluid -- eventually will lead to wins.

Lopez played on the Nets team that started the 2009-10 season with a record 18 straight losses and finished 12-70. He said this team is much better than that.

"Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah," said Lopez, who was granted a rest day and did not practice. "Because I see it in practice as well. It just hasn't been these three games [that the team has showed improvement]. I've seen it in practice, too. We haven't had guys quitting; it definitely doesn't feel like other previous seasons, where we, you know, had a losing season and sort of losing mentality to go with it. We have a very positive group here.

"You have to buy in, and I think guys do see that we can be better," he continued.

"We just competed with a very great Golden State team. We competed with them all the way to the end, we felt we should have had the game, and I think it gives us hope. It shows, see, if we play this way every night for 48 minutes, we have a shot."

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