Brooklyn can't stop, and they won't stop. Nine of their past 11 games have been wins. They've been winners of their past five. Beating the teams they have to beat and looking pretty good while doing it. Brook Lopez is an animal on the low block, getting shot after shot to drop and handling double teams with ease. Deron Williams has finally found his mojo, wheeling and dealing, and after Wednesday's performance at Madison Square Garden, scoring. Joe Johnson looks healthy, and each night someone seems to step up and make an impact.
So, lets look at where the Nets stand in the chase for the playoffs:
Brooklyn is still only a half-game up on Boston for the eighth seed. The Nets do have one more game on the schedule than the C's. The key here is that Boston has the tiebreaker over Brooklyn. So, in the event of a tie at the end of the season, the Celtics would make the playoffs.
According to PlayoffStatus.com, Brooklyn has a more difficult schedule down the stretch by a hair, but with team's likely resting starters, that stat is debatable. You might think that the Hawks could rest some starters. They play the Nets twice in the coming weeks. But the Hawks want the Nets to finish in the lottery with the possibility of getting a top pick. They're not likely to rest anyone. The Blazers are a more likely candidate to rest their troops. They play the Pelicans in Portland on Saturday, then fly to Brooklyn for the blizzard makeup game on Monday before heading back west for a Wednesday game. They're two and a half behind the Rockets.
Other than the feisty Celtics, Brooklyn seems to pull away from the rest. Charlotte and Indiana don't have the offensive firepower to keep up with other contenders. Charlotte is now two games back of Brooklyn, Indiana two-and-a-half back, three in the loss column. The Nets also have the tiebreaker over both teams, so really it's three and three-and-a-half games between the teams, respectively. It's not impossible but it's highly, highly unlikely.
So much is going well for the Nets that we can even look to the seventh seed, where the Nets have pulled into a tie with the Miami Heat. The Heat do have the tiebreaker, but anything can happen in the final eight games. Miami plays three teams that are currently in the playoffs: the Cavaliers, Bulls, and Raptors. However, the Heat are 5-5 over their last ten while the Nets seem to be peaking.
It's worth noting that the Nets are two and a half (two in the loss column) back of Milwaukee for the sixth seed, but we will look at that if they get closer to Jason Kidd's ball club.
It's looking good for the team in the black-and-white right now. They are hitting on all cylinders, and while Wednesday may have gotten a little too close for comfort, a win is a win, and that is what they need right now.