*This* was supposed to be the relief period. The silver lining, if you will.
Take a look at what we noted a month and a half ago...
So, if you need some silver lining, after the New Year's Eve game in Boston, #Nets will have 16 of their next 25 games at home, including the first 5 in January, and 6 of the first 7 in February.— Bryan Fonseca ️ (@BryanFonsecaNY) December 29, 2017
#Nets were 3-2 to open December, and have now lost 7 of their last 8.— Bryan Fonseca ️ (@BryanFonsecaNY) December 29, 2017
But, in their favor, they have 5 straight home games to begin January, 9 in total.
6 of first 7 games in February are also at home. 7 total, only 3 on the road.
We know that especially in this league, wins don’t come easy. But in this 2018 calendar year, heading into Wednesday night against the Pistons, the Nets have gone 6-13 during a stretch that included only seven road games. During those 12 home games, the Nets won only four, beating the Magic, Timberwolves, Heat and 76ers.
Not great, but not exactly a group of bad teams. Three are likely to make the playoffs.
Currently 11-18 at home, with a winning percentage of 37.9%, the Nets have the worst home record in the Eastern Conference and tied with the Mavericks, who are tied for the NBA’s worst overall record. Only the lowly Suns and Kings are worse.
Heading into New Year’s Day, the Nets had 16-of-25 upcoming games on their home floor, and with a record of 13-23 at the time, the home stretch could’ve been seen — was seen by the players — as an opportunity to inch closer to .500 and challenging for, well, something this season, like the playoffs maybe?
One month later and a few days later, at 19-36, and nine games out of a playoff spot, no one is remotely thinking post-season. The opportunity was lost.
Kenny Atkinson said Tuesaday flat out, the team hasn’t gotten it done at home on this favorable stretch. They’ve struggled heading into the upcoming All-Star Break. Asked if he was more concerned with the recent string of losses because they’re coming on their home floor, he replied ‘sure.’
”We want to play well here, we want to play well in front of our fans,” he continued. It’s obviously to sleep in your own bed. We’re a little frustrated we’re not making more money at home during this home stretch because obviously after the All-Star break we’re gonna go on the west coast, we’ve got some tough road games. It’s frustrating we haven’t done better.”
That’s the other part of it.
Some of these 16 home games between January and February included tough teams like the Celtics and Spurs, whom the Nets pushed to their limits (the Lakers, too). However, the group also has theKnicks, Pistons, Bucks and Rockets, all of whom clearly overwhelmed Brooklyn, blowing them out at Barclays Center.
Coming up, the Nets will host the Pelicans, Clippers and Pacers, all of whom could be playoff bound, and then the All-Star break. Then, it’s ugly with the dreaded road trip that starts in the East and goes West.
Who do they play on those five straight road games between February 27 to March 8? Cleveland, Sacramento, the Clippers, Golden State and Charlotte. Ug-ly. Ironically, Of the team’s in the lower half of the eastern conference, the Nets actually have one of the better road records, but it’s still only 8-18.
The Nets have been competitive, but they’ll tell you, with the most close games in the NBA. But if you want to see real progress, it has to start with protecting home court which they haven’t done a lot of in 2017-18, or in recent years for that matter.
At this point last season, the Nets were 9-43, and didn’t win game number-10 until March 1. So, in reality, they’ve gotten much better. They’ve taken a step. But in order to get to the next level beyond 19-36, you have to win home games. They’re closer, but still far away.