Nets keep even keel as they crawl back into playoff race

By on March 29, 2015

The split-personality Nets are back.

Brooklyn’s chances of making the playoffs seemed to flat-line after they lost five straight earlier this month.

Players struggled to describe what was happening. Their collective confidence was shot.

But two weeks later, the Nets have caught fire, winners of six of their last eight to pull within a half game of Boston for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

The team is smiling again.

The playoffs are in reach.

The Nets have a chance to win five straight for the first time all season with games against the wretched Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday and meetings with the Pacers and terrible Knicks on Tuesday and Wednesday.

But despite the recent success, the Nets (31-40) seem to be treading lightly on their accomplishments, perhaps aware of how quickly it can all go away, given the team’s inconsistency.

Since the All-Star break, the Nets have won games against two of the league’s elite — the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers in a rare home win on Friday, proof of the team’s potential.

So mum was the word at practice on Saturday.

Coach Lionel Hollins was asked if he views his team as a potential giant-killer in the post-season.

Since the All-Star break, the Nets have won games against two of the league’s elite- the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers in a rare home win on Friday, proof of the team’s potential.

But Hollins wasn’t willing to admit anything.

“Well, you’re going to write that, so go ahead and say that,” Hollins said, defiant as always.

He passed, understanding it’s too soon for such talk. The team has to qualify for the post-season first.

And given the team’s maddeningly, uneven history- nothing is guaranteed.

“Every game is a ‘must’ game when you’re trying to make the playoffs and there’s three, or four, or five teams that are together, all doing the same thing,” Hollins said of five teams all vying for the final two playoff spots in the East. “You gotta keep winning, until the season’s over, and then the dust is settled and we’ll know where everybody is.”

Brook Lopez, who has been on a tear of late, playing like an All-Star, was similarly tight-lipped on the subject of what kind of team the Nets could be in the playoffs.

Evidently, he didn’t want to jinx the team’s recent good fortune.

“Yeah we’re focused on going one at a time,” he said. “But we all feel like we’re in a really good place right now.”

Lopez had an easier time talking about the fickle nature of the Nets this season.

“I don’t think that’s possible (to figure this team out), but we’ve been playing well recently,” Lopez said. “It’s tough to decipher this team but we’re getting there. We haven’t given up. As bad as it got in the lowest points, we still were in the race,” an apparent reference to the weak Eastern Conference. “It was just baffling to us, crazy,” he went on. “We knew we could always make a push and we had an opportunity and we’re taking advantage of it.”

Rebounds: Thaddeus Young didn’t practice on Saturday because of a left knee sprain sustained Wednesday in Charlotte and has been listed as out for Sunday’s home game against the Lakers, the second straight game he will miss. Deron Williams (ill) also didn’t practice on Saturday. Hollins was somewhat optimistic that he will be ready for Sunday.

“Hopefully whatever he has will be done and he’ll play tomorrow,” he said.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Basketball Rss Article only

Read previous post:
Mets Insider: Murphy’s in danger of DL stint

JUPITER, Fla. — The Mets are increasingly worried that Daniel Murphy (hamstring) will open the season on the disabled list....

Close