Monday Musings – January 24th

Well this will go down as one of the more interesting weeks of the 2010-11 season. The Nets had 4 games, won 2 of them and made the most news by bailing out of the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes. As I said in my recap of the Jazz game Wednesday, I like what owner Mikhail Prokhorov did by finally ending this speculation and all these rumors. I will continue to maintain that I don’t think the Anthony rumors are the reason this team was losing, but coincidence or not, they have been playing well since Billy King and Prokhorov announced that Carmelo was no longer in the Nets’ sights.

Last Monday I wrote about how the Nets had some very winnable games on this 5-game home stand, and it would be nice if they went 3-2. And while they’re already 2-1 with games left against the Cavs and Grizzlies, they could easily already be 3-0. The Nets played a real tough game against the Mavericks Saturday night, but fell 87-86 after Dirk Nowitzki hit a game-winner from the middle of the lane. This game reminded me a lot of the game at home against Orlando in mid-November. The Nets played well enough to win against one of the better teams in the NBA, but lost by 1 (both games were also coincidentally on Saturday nights).

So the Nets are 12-32 and have 38 games left in the 2010-11 season. These last few games may just be fool’s gold and what I’m about to say is probably a bit out there; but it is not completely unrealistic to think this team can still be in the playoffs. Now before all you commenters close out of this article, let me give you some numbers to think about. As ridiculous as this sounds, the Nets are only six games behind the 8th-seeded Bobcats and seven behind the 7th-seeded 76ers. There is no other way to say it: the bottom of the East is just awful this season. The 7 and 8 seeds are on pace to win 32-35 games, which is why it isn’t inconceivable that the Nets could actually make a run at the playoffs.

Now here are the problems with getting there. For one the Nets have not showed that they can consistently win in this season at all. They have not won more than two games in a row all season, and it seems as though every time they win a few games, a 5-6 game losing streak comes next. The other problem is the number of teams between the Nets and the 8-spot. 6 games back with still nearly half the season to play is nothing insurmountable, but to hop over 5 other teams to get there will be pretty tough. So while no part of me thinks this team will even contend for a playoff spot, when you look at the standings they really aren’t out of it. But they will need to do something they haven’t done all season, and that’s get on an extended winning streak.

This coming week should see the Nets go 2-2 in my opinion. Tonight they’ve got a game at home against Cleveland that they have to win, then home for Memphis Wednesday and at the Pacers and Bucks over the weekend. Of course it would be nice to take both of these games at home and then go split the two in the Midwest on the road, but I’m not going to get greedy yet. Win tonight and go from there…