They're in. With their win over the Houston Rockets Tuesday night, the Nets have clinched their second playoff berth in as many seasons in Brooklyn. But you all know that by know, the bigger question now is who they will play in the first round and where they will be playing Game 1.
Here are the Nets' magic numbers before they matchup with the Knicks at Madison Square Garden:
- Magic Number to clinch at least the seventh seed: 1
- Magic number to clinch at least the sixth seed: 6
- Magic number to clinch at least the fifth seed: 8
- The Raptors are .500 over their last ten and have lost their stranglehold on the Atlantic Division. Their division lead is down to just a game and a half with eight games remaining. The Raptors are only one up in the loss column on the Nets and take on the Rockets tonight and the Pacers on Friday, two games they could lose. Toronto has the 26 easiest schedule the rest of the way with opponents such as the Bucks (twice), the Sixers and the Pistons.
- The Bulls are in the same position as the Raptors standing wise. They have a game and a half on the Nets, but just one in the loss column. The Nets are trying to take home-court advantage away from Chicago and set a matchup exactly the one that was a year ago. It won't be easy for the Nets to catch Chicago, though. The Bulls' opponents have a combined winning percentage of 40% the rest of the games with relatively easy games against the struggling Bucks, and Pistons, and Magic.
- The Nets have put a fair amount of distance between themselves and the Wizards, 2 1/2 games. The Wizards remaining opponents do have a combined winning percentage of 41%, but that isn't all that much easier than the Nets schedule. If all holds to form, the Nets should be able to fend off the Wizards.
Nothing is set in stone positioning wise. That being said, the Nets have a fairly easy schedule to finish the season out, their opponents have a combined winning percentage of 42%, the 24 easiest schedule in the league. The Nets current 14-game home winning streak makes it even more imperative for the team to get the three or four seed in the playoffs. And with the way they have been playing, Brooklyn can catch the Raptors and the Bulls.
Tonight is a big night for the Nets. They have an opportunity to not only take down their cross-river rival Knicks but and also draw even with the Raptors and Bulls in the loss column. The Raptors take on the Rockets at home (the Rockets are coming off of their game last night in Brooklyn). The Bulls are in Atlanta to take on the reeling Hawks. The Nets clinch at least the seventh seed with a win tonight and an Atlanta loss against the Bulls.