By defeating the Indiana Pacers Friday night, the Brooklyn Nets guaranteed home-court advantage at least through the first round of the playoffs. At 47-32, they 3.5 games ahead of the Atlanta Hawks with three games remaining, meaning that even if they lose the rest of their games and the Hawks win outright, they would still finish one game ahead of the Hawks for the fourth seed.
At 44-36, the Atlanta Hawks are currently a half-game ahead of the 43-36 Chicago Bulls for the fifth seed, which would be the Nets' first-round opponent. The Boston Celtics are no longer in contention for the fifth seed, but could be the sixth seed.
The Nets still have a mathematical chance at the third seed, should they win the remainder of their games and the Pacers lose the remainder of their games. The Nets, with two big wins against Boston and Indiana, face three very beatable teams. They play the 31-48 Toronto Raptors on the road on Sunday, followed by a two-game homestand to close the season: Monday vs. the 29-51 Washington Wizards and Wednesday vs. the 28-52 Detroit Pistons. The Pacers have a more difficult schedule: on the road against the 52-27 New York Knicks and the 40-39 Boston Celtics, but finish the season at home against the 32-47 Philadelphia 76ers.
Additionally, if the Nets win the remainder of their games -- very doable -- it would be the franchise's first 50-win season since 2001-02, the first of their two NBA Finals appearances.
The Nets had a record of 12-70, 24-58, and 22-44 in the last three seasons, respectively.
I'll be happy with a 50 win season, a healthy DWill and a healthier Wallace for the playoffs vs. Hawks. At least if we could win 2 games vs. Heat, we will get plenty of good coverage. Just as important is for Knicks not to get past 2nd round. IND will be a tough team for Knicks. Latest word is that Bulls may have known all along that Rose wouldn't be back, but were just trying to give the team,and Fans, hope. Noah will have to play with his plantar fasciitis, but rest of team will be healthy. I don't want to face these Bulls. Nate Robinson alone is scary. Hawks have easier schedule than Bulls, because they play the Knicks on last game, in a meaningless game for NY. ATL has motivation to prefer playing Nets over IND. Bulls play MIA tomorrow, and it seems Heat may again play their big 3 and they have a score to settle with CHI.