It’s been a year full of peaks and valleys for the Nets, but as they enter the final quarter of their inaugural season in Brooklyn they’re right about where they should be. With a 35-26 record heading into tonight’s game, the Nets are on pace to win 47 games — a respectable number after going 22-44 in last year’s lockout shortened season and then not only massively overhauling the roster last summer, but also going through the tumult of firing Avery Johnson in late December. Even after all of that, though, the Nets find themselves in fourth place in the tightly bunched Eastern Conference standings entering Friday night’s game in Brooklyn against the Wizards, beginning a stretch of four games in five days. After the Knicks’ 95-94 loss to the Thunder last night at the Garden, the Nets find themselves three games behind their crosstown rivals for second in the conference and just 1 1/2 games ahead of the seventh-place Celtics, who have won four in a row. The goal, of course, will be to overtake the Knicks and win the Atlantic Division title, and the next two weeks could determine just how close the race will get down the stretch. Beginning tonight, the Nets will play five of their next seven games and seven of their next 10 against teams with losing records, although seven of them also will be on the road. The Knicks, on the other hand, began arguably their toughest stretch of the season with last night’s game against the Thunder, which kicks off a series of six out of their next seven games against teams with winning records and a week-long West Coast trip. But even as the Nets enter a softer portion of their schedule, they still have their own set of challenges to deal with. The Nets play 13 of their final 21 games away from Barclays Center, and also have to navigate through eight back-to-backs over the season’s final few weeks. Part of dealing with those back-to-backs will be finding the right balance of how to handle Joe Johnson as he continues to recover from a sore left heel that recently forced him to sit out for three games.
Nets move fourth in good standing
New York Post | Mar 8