Pregame Post-Ups: C's Set to Face Toughest Nets Team in Years

Monday, Jan. 7- Nets at Celtics

Pregame – C's Set to Face Toughest Nets Team in Years

BOSTON – For the first time in four years, the Brooklyn Nets are playing like postseason contenders.

After hovering around the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings over the last three seasons, Brooklyn has finally broken free and now sits in seventh place with a 20-21 record. Judging by the way the Nets have been performing of late, having won 12 of their last 15 games, it doesn't appear as if they'll be dropping back down anytime soon.

"When you look at things and how they all stand right now, I’d be surprised if this team is not in the Playoffs," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said before hosting the Nets at TD Garden Monday evening. "They’re awfully good and they’re really well-coached."

Kenny Atkinson has been guiding the Nets throughout most of their rebuild. After taking Brooklyn's head coaching job at the start of the 2016-17 season, the team stumbled to a league-worst mark of 20-62. The Nets added eight wins the following campaign, and this season they're on pace to add 12 more.

"It started three years ago with the habits and the principles and the culture we were trying to establish," Atkinson explained. "So we’d like to think that that’s starting to kick in."

Stevens has admired watching Brooklyn's culture develop from afar. He thinks that they have a promising young backcourt in D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie, as well as a solid trio of rollers in Jarrett Allen, Ed Davis and Kenneth Faried.

"I just love the way they play," said Stevens. "They play hard, they play together. Everybody knows what they're supposed to do, and they do it every night. Their shooters shoot, their drivers drive, the guys who do both, do both, and the rollers roll. They look like a team, and they've done a great job of building that over time."

In other words, this Nets team will be far more difficult to take down Monday night than they have been in recent memory.

- Taylor Snow