BROOKLYN – It seems a little impossible to believe, right? There are less than 10 games remaining in the regular season.
The marathon is a sprint. The finish line is in sight.
The Brooklyn Nets have turned it on like no other team in the Eastern Conference. They have a legitimate chance to move into the No. 4 seed, guaranteeing home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
And the Nets couldn’t have asked for a better schedule to finish the season strong. Of the seven opponents remaining in those eight games (the Nets play the Orlando Magic twice) only one – the Miami Heat – has a winning record.
There are four games in Barclays Center and four on the road. Nets fans should thank the basketball gods today.
The Nets begin the stretch run by hosting the Detroit Pistons on April 4 at Barclays Center. The Pistons have a formidable frontcourt in Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe but the Nets have found an answer for teams they can’t outrebound:
Instead of manning up in a losing battle – without center Brook Lopez –the Nets are using their quickness and intelligence to negate height and muscle.
The Nets have surged to first in the league in turnovers forced (17.5 turnovers) and second in points off of turnovers (20.7 points). They do not trap or press or cheat. Rather, the Nets use their understanding of passing lanes and help defense to cause chaos.
Chaos is a good word to describe the Nets first true road opponent in April (remove ‘they play at the Knicks on April 2’). The Philadelphia 76ers are in a freefall, having (remove ‘already’) shattered the franchise record of 21 straight losses by losing 26 in a row. (remove ‘and counting’.)
The Nets’ game at Philadelphia on April 5 begins the last road trip of the season. From there the Nets head to Miami for an April 8 game with immense playoff implications.
The Nets head to Orlando the following night. The teams will meet again in Brooklyn on April 13.
The Magic won the first meeting back on Nov. 3, 107-86. The Nets got revenge on Jan. 21 with a 101-90 triumph.
After the Magic game, the Nets will have four games remaining, three at home. Thank you, basketball gods.
The Atlanta Hawks come to Brooklyn on April 11. The Nets have had the Hawks’ number this season, beating them 91-86 in Barclays Center on Jan. 3 and then going across the pond to administer a 127-110 beatdown in London.
The Magic are in town on the 13th and then the Nets and Knicks go at it one last time on April 15. It could be a taxing day for the Knicks, who could be eliminated from the playoffs with a Nets’ win.
The season ends as it began, in Cleveland; hopefully, the results will be different. The Cavs edged the Nets 98-94 on Oct. 30, when this thrilling roller coaster ride of a season began.
As Marcus Thornton said soon after coming to the Nets in a trade with Sacramento and putting up 25 points on the Bucks on March 1: “Buckle up!”