The Nets continue to win when it counts. They did what they had to do against the lowly Celtics and then rallied late to take down the Mavericks in overtime. That, with a close loss by the Wizards has put the Nets comfortably in fifth place heading into the final dozen or so games. Here are the magic numbers for the Nets as of Monday afternoon.
- Magic number to clinch the playoffs: 4
- Magic number to clinch at least the 7 seed: 7
- Magic number to clinch at least the 6 seed: 8
- Magic number to clinch the 5 seed: 11
The Nets aren't close to having anything locked up yet, but they continue to get closer and closer to getting home court advantage in the first round. They need some help, though, from the team's below.
- Toronto Raptors: Toronto is still hanging onto their Atlantic Division lead that they have had for the majority of the season, however it is dwindling, and fast. Toronto has just a game and a half on Brooklyn with the Raptors having 13 games left. Toronto does have the easiest remaining schedule with their opponents combined winning percentage just a measly 40%. They do have a three game stretch between March 31 and April 4 where they play the Heat, Rockets, and Pacers. That slate of games can be the deciding factor in the Atlantic Division. The Nets do not own the tiebreaker with the Raptors.
- Chicago Bulls: The Bulls are another team that has lost some ground on the surging Nets. The difference between the two foes is one game with the Bulls having 12 games left in the regular season. This would currently be the four/five matchup in the postseason, the same as last season's except with home court advantage switched. The Nets should try and push for home court considering they are considerably better at the Barclays Center rather than on the road this season, going 23-11 in Brooklyn and 14-20 elsewhere. The Nets lost the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Bulls, so they must finish a game ahead of them to clinch the fourth seed. The Bulls remaining opponents have a combined winning percentage of 44%.
- The Nets have put two games between themselves and the Wizards, so if the Nets continue their fine play, they should be capable of fending off Washington. If it does come down to a tie between the two teams, the Nets would lose to the Wizards considering they got swept by them this season.
This was a big week from Brooklyn as they showcased fine play and made up a lot of ground in the standings. The third seed is in reach now. It seems that home court is more of the goal than actually winning the Atlantic. The Nets did get beat by the Wizards every time they matched up this season, so maybe a three/six matchup between the Nets and Wizards would not be a great situation for the Nets. I don't think anybody is going to tell that to the resurgent Nets, though.