Like Jim Mora on a rant, the Nets don't want to talk about the Playoffs. The "P word" remains unspoken and getting to the Promised Land would be difficult, almost impossible stuff, requiring the Nets to go something like 14-4 or even 15-3 the rest of the way. You know like they did in 2005 when mid-season acquistion Vince Carter led them to a win on the last day of the season to tie the Cavaliers and get in on a tiebreaker.
The big problem is that the Nets would have to vault over four teams in the Eastern Conference to get there: the Pistons, who they are now tied with; the Bucks, who they're four and a half back of; and the Pacers and Bobcats, who they're five and a half back of. They're also five back in the loss column, called "all important" because teams can always add wins, but can't subtract losses. What about reports that the Nets have the easiest schedule going forward? Not so. You might call it "Mission Improbable".
- New-look Nets are in the playoff hunt? - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
Of course, the Nets have won four straight (second longest in the league after the Bulls) and have Deron Williams returning Monday but contrary to reports that they have a favorable schedule, they don't. The Nets have 18 left, but 10 are on the road, including one two-week stretch where they play seven out of nine on the road. They and the Bucks have the most road games over the final month of the season (10) and their 10 games vs. teams with winning records is the second most of the five teams with playoff hopes. And in terms of tiebreakers, the Nets have an advantage only on the Pistons.
Take a look at the competition.
The Pacers have 17 left, eight away, and have lost four straight. Ten of their games are against teams with winning records, including three against the Knicks and two against the Celtics. They do hold a 2-0 record against the Nets, having beaten them twice, by 32 and 19 points. They play the Nets March 21 in New Jersey.
The Bobcats have 17 left, nine away and have won their last game. Ten of their games are also against teams with winning records, including games vs. division leading Celtics and Spurs. They currently hold a tie breaker against the Nets, with a 2-1 record. The Nets and Bobcats play April 11, the Nets' last home game.
The Bucks have 19 left, 10 away and have won their last game. Eleven of their games are against teams with winning records, including two games vs. the Knicks, and games vs. division leading Celtics and Bulls. They hold a 2-0 advantage vs. the Nets. The two teams play again in Milwaukee March 18.
The Pistons have 16 left, evenly divided home and away. They've lost their last two. Only seven of their games are against teams with winning records, including games against the Heat, Celtics and Bulls. The Nets hold a 2-1 advantage over the Pistons and play again April 6.
There is one team who could help the Nets more than any other, ironically it's the Knicks. They play seven games vs. the four teams ahead of the Nets...and two against the Nets. And if the Nets do get close, don't expect to see a lot of the playoff run on television. Due to Yankee telecasts on YES, three Nets' games won't air locally: Minnesota (April 5), Detroit (April 6) and their season finale at Chicago (April 13).