From the desk of: THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH
BROOKLYN NETS - Are The Nets Oppressors Of The Weak? The Best Of The Bad?
Back in Hot-Lanta! - the place Joe Johnson became an all-star, to play the team that didn't want him anymore. Games like this always make for a good story, in any sport, in any league. And the timing couldn't have been more right. For Joe Johnson is heating up. But the Hawks aren't all the worse for trading him. At 21-16, they only trail the Miami Heat by 3 1/2 games in the Southeast Division.
The Nets enter the game with a 23-15 record. But the Nets are white hot right now. They are undefeated in the new year, and are 9-1 since P.J. took over the reigns. Have the Nets been getting fat on sub-par competition? Yeah, absolutely. But their victories over the Thunder and Pacers gives this latest stretch legitimacy. Tonight, the Nets will be tested by another competitive team. Or will they? Atlanta's top scorer, Josh Smith, has been suspended one game by the Hawks for conduct detrimental to the team. The Nets may still be without Crash Wallace for a third game, after he bruised ribs against Phoenix.
But has too much been made of the Nets success against weaker opponents? Fourteen of their fifteen losses came against the Heat (2), Warriors (2), Bucks (2), Knicks (2), Lakers, Thunder, Bulls, Jazz, Celtics, and most recently, the Spurs. The fifteenth loss came very early in the season against Minnesota. Minus the T-Wolves, those are all above .500 teams. On the win side, Brooklyn defeated the Clippers, Blazers, Knicks, Thunder, Pacers, and the Celtics twice. So that makes them 7-14 versus above .500 teams, and 16-1 against sub .500 teams. The Nets had a stretch where they lost consecutive games to the Heat, Thunder, Warriors, Bucks, and Knicks. But they also had a string of victories over the Clippers, Blazers, Knicks, and Celtics.
They've had two good months. One in November, and so far, January has been pretty successful. They had one bad month in December which cost Avery Johnson his job. I think they can hang with the big boys. So how harshly are you judging?