If the power ranking pundits had waited until Tuesday morning to rate the NBA, the Nets might have been higher than the consensus No. 16, but Monday is the day for most of them, so we'll have to wait another week.
The ranking was a bit disappointing considering their 4-2 road record, but the 44-point loss to Portland, who fell to the Lakers last night, was cited by a number of the pundits. Also cited was the arrival of the newest Nets, Jason Collins and Marcus Thornton who by now everyone thinks was a steal.
The Marcus Thornton trade paid off on Saturday, when Thornton scored 25 points to help the Nets finish their post-break trip at 4-2 and remain within shouting distance of a top-four seed. Now they're home for seven of their next 10 games, a stretch which includes games against the three teams ahead of them in the standings. They failed to crack 80 points in their first two games against the Bulls.
A 4-2 overall record for the road trip, Jason Collins' historic (and helpful) return to the franchise and the fact that Brooklyn is steadily inching away from a first-round matchup with either Indiana or Miami will all serve to help the Nets get over that 44-point pounding they absorbed in Portland.
New Nets center Jason Collins, the NBA's first openly gay player, will make his Brooklyn debut on Monday against the Bulls.
Newcomer Marcus Thornton showed why the Nets traded for him in a win over the Bucks, scoring 25 points in just 24 minutes of action. Thornton buried four threes in the impressive performance off the bench.
If they want to climb up to a top four seed and have home court in the first round they need to make up four games on Toronto or Chicago — which means beating the Bulls Monday night would be big.
They lost by 44 to a good team and then beat a bad team by 23. Never a dull moment, I suppose.
Prediction: Brooklyn will finish with the fourth-best record in the East. The Nets have the third-best winning percentage (.696) in the league since Jan. 1, tied with the Heat. Brooklyn is building momentum, and it makes sense when you consider a first-year coach in Jason Kidd who needed to find his way on top of a revamped roster. The only thing between them and the third seed is the play of the Raptors.
The Nets won at Milwaukee on Saturday to complete a 4-3 road trip that actually started before the All-Star break. Jason Collins, who has made four appearances since signing a 10-day contract, will play his first home game as a Net on Monday against Chicago.
What rivalry with the Knicks? They clearly are New York's best team this year.
Having worked their way out of a first-round matchup with Miami and Indy (save some big backsliding), the Nets have a shot to give Prokhorov a couple playoff series. Not exactly bang for the buck, but better than nothing.
After finishing 4-2 on their two-week circus trip, the Nets return home for four of their next five games, including crucial Eastern Conference matchups with the Bulls and Raptors.
When they finish their long West Coast/Midwest trip Saturday night in Milwaukee, Jason Kidd's team will have a favorable schedule from here on out. They'll have only 11 road games left and 14 games at home.