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Power rankings have Nets halfway up ... and rising

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Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets keep winning and they keep rising in pundits' Power Rankings, with a couple of exceptions.  Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! dropped them two spots after they won easily in London, their sixth win in seven games. Really?

Matt Moore of CBS Sports gives teams mid-season rather than weekly grades and he thinks the first half was the second worst in the NBA, even with their recent surge.  He also compares them to the Knicks?!

Most everyone else has the Nets in the mid-teens with Tim Bontemps putting them at No. 12. No one mentions the Nets have the best record in the league since January 1. So we will.

John Schuhmann, (17)

On Monday against the Knicks, Deron Williams will return (from a five-game absence) to a team that has found an identity (and success) playing only one big at a time, with Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko and Mirza Teletovic at the forward spots. Johnson and Pierce have been carrying the offense and center Kevin Garnett is among the leaders in on-court DefRtg over the last 40 days.

Marc Stein, ESPN (16)

Deron Williams has had 16 days off. The Nets liken his latest ankle procedures to an oil change. What they're banking on is the idea that the time off before and after Brooklyn's trip to London, on top of the treatment course, leads to an all-new version of D-Will as we move into the second half.

Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports (19)

The Nets go to Manhattan to visit their rival Knicks during a Martin Luther King Day matinee. Deron Williams (ankle) is a game-time decision.

Jason Patt, SB Nation (18)

Speaking of the Nets, here they are! Brooklyn certainly had a much better time in London than Atlanta, both on and off the court:

Kurt Helin, NBC Sports (17)

Deron Williams returns Monday and it gets interesting — can the small ball lineup with Kevin Garnett quarterbacking the defense and Paul Pierce as an offensive fulcrum continue to work? Winnable games this week if it does (Dallas is the only above .500 team on the schedule).

Matt Moore, CBS Sports (29 mid-season rankings)

One of the worst first halves of a season in Nets history. Think about who we're talking about for a second: The Nets. The Washington Generals are like, "Damn!"

Jimmy Spencer, FOX Sports (17)

It's hard to ignore what the Nets have been doing since the start of 2014. Before getting crushed by the Raptors on the road end of a back-to-back on Saturday, the Nets won five consecutive games. They weren't cheapies either, as wins came against the Thunder, Hawks, Warriors and Heat.

Adi Joseph, USA Today (18)

They have played the fewest games in the NBA (38). The next 44 might wear on an aging lineup.

Matt Dollinger, Sports Illustrated (17)

Not a bad trip to London for Joe Johnson, who reportedly dropped $9,000 on a bar tab and then dropped 29 points and hit six three-pointers in a blowout win over the Hawks.

Tim Bontemps, New York Post (12)

The trip across the Atlantic didn’t cool off the Nets, who claimed their sixth win in seven since the start of 2014 by destroying Atlanta. If Brooklyn is finally for real, however, it should come away with victories against the Knicks and Magic.

Mitch Lawrence, New York Daily News (17)

They're 6-1 for 2014 and after taking on the Knicks on Monday in the Garden, they'll play eight of their next 11 games in Barclays Center.

Brian Kamenetzky, Sheridan Hoops (16)

The Nets owned the Hawks in England, and if this month is any evidence, they’re slowly becoming more legitimate stateside against the rest of the league, too.