From the desk of: THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH
BROOKLYN NETS: Moving Into Top Four No Easy Task.
Brooklyn's defeat to the Knicks, which came on the tail end of back to back nights, was just that - a night they played flat. It appears if that was just a minor setback, as Brooklyn rebounded to win their last two. The Miami Heat loom next on Tuesday.
Kevin Garnett was back in action Saturday night. In his first game after missing the previous 19 with back spasms, he played 13 minutes, scored 10 points, and helped the Nets out-rebound the 76ers in Philadelphia.
Deron Williams led the Nets against Philly with 19 points and 9 assists. Six different Nets players pulled down at least 4 rebounds. The Nets also dominated the 76ers with 60 points in the paint.
Kevin Garnett's return comes none too soon, as the team is playing exceptionally well down the stretch. While he looked far from rusty last night, he'll nonetheless need to rebuild his game stamina in time for the first round.
Whether the Nets enjoy home court advantage is still a questionable proposition. They still trail the 4th seed Chicago Bulls by 2.5 games with just 6 games left in the regular season. They trail the Toronto Raptors by the same margin in the Atlantic Division standings.
The Bulls are in the midst of a 5 game winning streak. They have five games remaining against Minnesota, Detroit, NYK, Orlando and Charlotte.
The Toronto Raptors have won 3 in a row, and 6 of their last 7 games. They have 5 games remaining against Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee, and two against the Knicks.
The Nets have taken all three previous games from the Heat this season. Perhaps none of that matters heading into Tuesday night's clash in South Beach. The Heat are fresh off disassembling the desperate Knicks on Sunday, and I'm sure will want to exact a measure of payback against the Nets.
A pair of games against the Orlando Magic are potentially the final, and only breaks the Nets will receive for the remainder of their regular, and post-season run. The Magic currently sport a 22-55 record.
The Knicks could ill afford to lose against the Heat, which means they will be exponentially more desperate when it comes time to face the Nets in Brooklyn. Before then however, the Atlanta Hawks may have already sealed their fate. In any event, the Nets might be facing two very desperate teams.