The Nets, current holders of the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, have work to do in the next 10 games to make sure that when April 19 rolls around, the team isn’t standing in the same spot.
Since the start of 2014, the Nets are an astounding 20–2 at the Barclays Center. During that same span, they are 10–10 on the road.
Those splits sure seem to indicate that it would behoove the Nets to secure a home playoff series.
But, as we saw last year, home-court isn’t everything. The Nets got run out of Brooklyn in game seven by a much tougher Chicago Bulls team.
Nothing is to say that won’t happen again, but the Nets have taken strides to ensure that no team will out-tough its players again. The offseason additions of Kevin Garnett and and Andrei Kirilenko shored up the frontline with grit and veteran experience — something the team sorely lacked in last year’s first-round flameout. Both Garnett and Kirlenko have missed significant time this season, but both are due back in the next week or so, just prior to the start of the playoffs, ensuring that KG will be more rested for the playoffs than the Nets could have ever hoped.
Kirilenko was always projected as a role-player coming off the bench, but after only having played in 37 games this season due to various injuries, his fresh legs will no doubt provide valuable minutes to the Nets come the postseason.
With those two players contributing — and, of course, home-court advantage — I like the Nets’ chances against the Bulls’ stingy defense, or the inexperience of the Raptors or Wizards.
Tom Lafe is a 6-foot-5 sports-world insider with a middling high school basketball career who believes the Nets will be driven by the success of the team’s big men.