With six games left., the Nets are now two games ahead of the Bulls in the fight for homecourt advantage in the first round. They're also three games behind the Pacers for third. The Knicks are one win or Nets loss away from winning the division. And the actual games start in less than two weeks on April 20.
And so, the Nets as a team and individually are getting ready. For a couple of them, the playoffs present different if complementary challenges. MarShon Brooks is trying to get consistent, Reggie Evans trying to add other dimensions to what he's already captured in what could be a historic season on the boards.
Brooks is playing his best ball of the season. As Rod Boone points out, he is averaging nine points a game on 50.8 percent, including the best game of his career last Wednesday: 27 points and seven assists.
"I'm just trying to have a streak of good games," Brooks said. "I've had good games, and after good games, I've come back and played five minutes . . . So it's been tough on me all year, but P.J. has been giving me an opportunity to play a lot of minutes lately, letting me play through mistakes."
Evans, his critics will point out, makes a lot of mistakes, but it's rare that anyone points out just how good his season has been. He's not just averaging 10.8 boards in limited minutes or regularly putting up 20 rebound games, five in the last month, eight for the season.
Steve Lichtenstein, borrowing a page from Devin Kharpertian notes just how big a season Evans is having on the boards. He's averaging 21.3 rebounds per 48 minutes for the season, 24.3 over the last 10 games.
"His rebounding rates are not just superb, they’re historical," writes Lichtenstein of WFAN. "Not since fashionista Dennis Rodman’s final glory years in Chicago, some 18 seasons ago, has an NBA player put up such numbers," writes Lichtenstein. "Only Minnesota’s Kevin Love (20.4 in 2010-11) has exceeded over 20 rebounds per 48 minutes over a season since Rodman."
It's no wonder, as he adds, that fans at Barclays Center have taken to chanting, "Reggie, Reggie."
- MarShon Brooks hopes recent good play translates into playoff minutes - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Evans’ Continued Evolution Has Potential To Lift Nets - Steve Lichtenstein - WFAN
Johnson's health continues to worry Nets - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York