Power rankings are out and again, we are bit mystified. It's not about the Nets rankings, which run the gamut from No. 5 to No. 14. It's that about half the rankers put the Pacers ahead of the Nets while lamenting the Pacers' free fall ... and noting things like Kevin Garnett is back and so is Andrei Kirilenko.
If these are supposed to be cumulative rankings, there's a name for that: they're called standings. Our feeling has always been its about the trend line or the week's work, which for the Nets wasn't bad. They would have been a perfect 4-0 if it weren't for that unfortunate trip to Midtown Manhattan. That hurt in the eyes of some rankers.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com (11)
The returns of Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko should stabilize the Nets' defense that has ranked 21st (worst among playoff teams) over the last four weeks. They're pretty locked into the 5 seed, giving Jason Kidd freedom to keep his vets fresh. He's already been doing that, leaving Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce on the bench for the entire fourth quarter of a close game in Philly on Saturday.
Marc Stein, ESPN (14)
The Nets are the first team since Sacramento way back in 1985-86 to make the playoffs despite sitting 10+ games below. 500 on Dec. 31. Hard to believe when you remember Shaun Livingston and Mason Plumlee became starters thanks to all the time missed by Brook Lopez, Andrei Kirilenko and Kevin Garnett.
Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports (14)
Kevin Garnett returned Saturday in a win over Philadelphia after missing 19 straight games with back spasms.
Jason Patt, SB Nation (13)
The Nets will go for a season sweep of the Heat on Tuesday in Miami.
Kurt Helin, NBC Sports (14)
Kevin Garnett could return this week and along with Andrei Kirilenko that should help a Nets defense that has been a mess of late. Like against the Knicks last week. They are likely the five seed and if they face Toronto in the first round they could advance to the second round, which is the least you could ask considering what Prokhorov is paying for this.
Matt Moore, CBS Sports (7)
Losing to the Knicks shouldn't hurt you this much at this point, but losing like that to the Knicks? Back-to-back ... but like that?
Jimmy Spencer, FOX Sports (7)
No more disrespecting the Nets here. They’re the hottest team in the East, and own a 30-12 record since Jan. 1. When it comes to the postseason, recent record is far more important than what happened in November. It’s not as if Indy and Miami looks any scarier right now.
Tim Bontemps, New York Post (5)
Yes, the Nets were blown out by the Knicks, but they have won four of five and get a chance to sweep the Heat this season Tuesday in Miami.
Mitch Lawrence, New York Daily News (14)
Assuming he's just had back spasms and nothing more as he's missed the Nets' last 18 straight games, you've got to think that Kevin Garnett needs to play in at least three or four to get ready for the playoffs, right?
Alex Kennedy, Basketball Insiders (11)
On Tuesday, the Nets will have a chance to pull off a sweep against the HEAT. They appear locked in as the No. 5 seed and would probably face the HEAT in the second round if the Nets managed to get past their first round opponent. We’ll certainly be keeping our fingers crossed. Last Week: 3-1.
Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated (11)
Kevin Garnett, 37, looked solid in his first action in more than five weeks, scoring 10 points (5-of-6 shooting) and grabbing four rebounds in 13 minutes in Saturday's win over Philadelphia. With KG back in the starting lineup, the once-depleted Nets now look surprisingly deep heading into the playoffs.
Adi Joseph et al, USA Today (14)
Shaun Livingston, in the process of a career revival and perhaps his best season.
Eric Goldschein, SportsGrid (13)
They have a chance to be the first team to sweep the Heat in Miami's Big Three era.
Brian Kamenetzky, Sheridan Hoops (12)
The Nets went 14-5 without K.G., and now get him back just in time for the playoffs. Otherwise known as "The Part of the Year Where You Really Want K.G.."