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Nets looking forward after strange trip through the season's first half

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Bruce Bennett

The All-Star Break is the mid-point of the season only if you plan to go deep into the playoffs. Only those teams get to 100.

Still, it's a good measuring rod and truth be told, their tumultuous first half-season in Brooklyn has been a success. They're nine games over .500, the most in a decade, and one win short of a pace that would get them to 50 wins, something the franchise has done exactly once in its history. They're fourth in the East which would get them home court advantage. They're also second in the Atlantic, two and a half behind the Knicks, who since their Christmas week blowout are only 13-12 while the Nets are 18-10. Moreover, Barclays Center is seen as either the best arena or best new arena in the NBA. They regularly sell out.

Could they have been better? Sure. If they didn't have a 13-20 against .500-or-better teams. That in fact remains the biggest impediment to playoff success: an inability to win big games against big teams. It's not as if the individual players are unfamiliar with big games. With the exception of Brook Lopez, most of the key players have gone deep in the playoffs (although none have won a ring.)

Then, there's the issue of Deron Williams, who's hardly been a top point guard with individual numbers among his career worse. It defies logic and history to suggest he's done at age 28, but his inability to get beyond a series of nagging injuries is troublesome. Who's going to be coaching next year has to weigh on everyone, as does what the roster will look like a week from today, when trade deadline has passed. Will there be a new power forward, a new wing man to better space the floor or the same roster buttressed by a D-Leaguer or another vets minimum player?

Stay tuned.