We remain confused by the power rankers, not so much by the Nets drop on most of their lists. After all, as John Schuhmann writes, they lost to the "former Hornets and future Hornets" and were only 2-2. Still, they kept winning at home.
What's really got us scratching our heads is how most of the rankers still have the Pacers above the Nets. Indiana has lost three straight and five of their last six. In the last two weeks of March, they averaged a pathetic 78.4 points a game and have broken 80 only once in the past. The Nets have averaged 108.8 over that same period and topped 100 in every one of their seven games. The Pacers woes are no longer a small sample.
For the record, here are the rankings. Matt Moore of CBS Sports (3) and Tim Bontemps (4) have them the highest.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com (12)
The Nets' defense has taken a step backward over the last couple of weeks and their overtime losses to the former Hornets and future Hornets may have killed their chances at winning the division. But Paul Pierce is heating up, they hinted on Sunday that Kevin Garnett could play sometime next week, and after wins over the Cavs and Wolves, they finally have a positive point differential.
Marc Stein, ESPN (14)
Most of their success has been at home, true, but the small-balling Nets don't just sport the East's best record (29-12) since Jan. 1. They're also 17-12 against the West and rank as the East's third-best team against .500-or-better foes at 17-19, trailing only Miami (22-12) and Indiana (20-15).
Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports (14)
The Nets are in competition with the Raptors for the Atlantic Division title and with the Raptors and Chicago for the East's third playoff seed.
The Nets missed a prime opportunity to make a move on the No. 3 seed in the East with two overtime losses early last week, but they've bounced back with two straight victories.
Tied the franchise record with 13th straight win at home Sunday night against Minnesota.
Andrew Kamenetsky, Sheridan Hoops (13)
The NBA’s sixth-best O and eight-best D, fifth-best efficiency differential this month. The Nets are shaping up to be a scary postseason draw.
Matt Moore, CBS Sports (3)
At this point you can trust their counterpunch. The question is how they react to a playoff-level haymaker. They can trade swings but if they get hit with something heavy, they may drop.
Kurt Helin, NBC Sports (14)
Kevin Garnett could return to the lineup this coming weekend, which would be huge for Brooklyn. They need him as their defense has started to really show its holes without him there to quarterback that end of the floor.
Jimmy Spencer, FOX Sports (12)
Nets fans wouldn’t complain much if you said their squad would be a No. 3 seed despite a season-long injury to Brook Lopez. And here we are, the Nets are just two games out of third place. Anything could happen the way Indy and Miami have been playing.
Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated (10)
Maybe you would have believed me in October if I told you that the Nets would tie their franchise record for consecutive home wins (13) this season. But probably not if I told you that rookie center Mason Plumlee and well-traveled guard Shaun Livingston would be starters and Brooklyn's three best big men -- Brook Lopez, Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko -- were in street clothes.
Adi Joseph, USA Today (14)
Jorge Gutierrez drew a $15,000 fine on the same day he signed a multiyear contract extension.
Tim Bontemps, New York Post (4)
After a pair of back-to-back overtime losses, the Nets rebounded with wins over Cleveland and Minnesota to stretch their home winning streak to 13 games.
Mitch Lawrence, New York Daily News (14)
Jason Kidd's crew will try to break their first losing streak since losing three straight in early February (vs. Toronto, Oklahoma City and Indiana) Friday night in Brooklyn, against the Cavaliers.
Eric Goldschein, SportsGrid (13)
The true "dark horse."