The power rankings are kind of boring again. Most rankers have the Nets between 9 and 11, with the exception of Marc Stein, who has them at No. 14. They all take note of the injuries to Brooklyn's Backcourt. That's fair, but hey, in all but one of the rankings, the Knicks are ahead of the Nets. Since the Knicks beat the Nets at the Garden back in December, the Knicks are 14-14, the Nets 20-12. In the last two week, the Knicks are 1-4, the Nets 4-2. And yet...
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! notes, while ranking the Nets 10th (and the Knicks eighth), wishes the two teams had one more game left, noting they "are in a battle for the Atlantic Division title." So do we.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com (11)
Deron Williams has looked better since the All-Star break, averaging 20 points and shooting 13-for-25 from beyond the arc over four games. But now Joe Johnson (heel) is banged up and Brook Lopez (41 percent shooting since the break) is struggling. Those two guys have been carrying the load for this team, so it would be key to have both back to for for Saturday's big 4-5 matchup in Chicago.
Marc Stein, ESPN (14)
The celebration of Joe Johnson's big buckets at the end of the fourth quarter and OT in Brooklyn's win over Milwaukee coming out of the break feels like an ancient memory now with JJ plagued by an increasingly worrisome case of plantar fasciitis on top of all the concern about D-Will's ankles.
Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports (10)
Quietly, the Knicks and the Nets are in a battle for the Atlantic Division title with the former owning a two-game lead. Unfortunately, the Knicks-Nets four-game season series is already over. C’mon, NBA.
Seth Rosenthal, SB Nation (11)
Brooklyn's post-All-Star push has been undermined a bit by some slumps (Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace) and some nagging leg injuries (Deron Williams, Joe Johnson). Injuries suck, and so do slumps.
Kurt Helin, NBC Sports (11)
It wasn’t for lack of effort by Billy King at the trade deadline, but nobody is taking the HBAP offer (Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks and a pick). This team is what it is headed to playoffs, and that could be one-and-done.
Wes Szafran, NJ.com (11)
Blatche averaging 10 ppg off the bench.
Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated (9) published Friday
The Nets stretched their winning streak to four with back-to-back victories against Milwaukee in their first two games after the break. The offense is clicking once again. The Nets rank 19th in points per game, but they're 21-4 when scoring at least 97 points, something they've done in their last three games. Brooklyn failed to add another playmaker at the deadline, but more efficiency from Deron Williams could be enough of a difference maker.
Mitch Lawrence, New York Daily News (8) published Friday
No way they were going to wind up with Josh Smith. They didn't have enough assets to get the Hawks even remotely interested.