Between tomorrow night (Friday, March 1) and April 10, the Brooklyn Nets have 19 games left to solidify their playoff position. A successful run will lead them to their first post season since the 2013-2014. It’s 40 days and 40 nights.
Currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, Brooklyn has an advantage in their next six games by having six lower seeded teams back-to-back on their schedule. The Charlotte Hornets, an 8th seed tomorrow. The Miami Heat, a 10th seed Saturday, the Dallas Mavericks Monday, the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday, then Atlanta Saturday and the Detroit Pistons, a 7 seed, the following Monday.
That was the easy part. Following these six games, Brooklyn will face an epic challenge: the Oklahoma Thunder, the Utah Jazz, the L.A. Clippers, the Sacramento Kings, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trailblazers. A six game West Coast road trip against top seeded playoff teams and potential ones. They’re facing a 3-seed, a 4, a 6 and a 7. Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul, LeBron James and Rajon Rondo, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, but the trip doesn’t end there.
Brooklyn returns to the East Coast with a stop in Philadelphia to play the 76ers, currently the 4-seed in the standings. A total of seven road games that can have a major effect on the Nets and their position in the standings.
Returning home for two games is an up side, but there’s no relief on their schedule. Brooklyn will face the Milwaukee Bucks and the Toronto Raptors at Barclays, the 1 and 2 seeds in the Eastern Conference. Both have the best win-loss record in the NBA.
They hit the road again, visiting Milwaukee and the Indiana Pacers, the 3-seed.
Brooklyn ends their season at home against the Miami Heat, a 10-seed today, but a spoiler or potential 8th seed in these 40 days.
As the season has progressed, despite the major injuries to Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn has been resilient, taking advantage of their opportunities. A narrow two point win in Charlotte Saturday. A sixteen point blowout against the San Antonio Spurs at home Monday.
“The Brooklyn Nets have done a great job this year. They’re just getting better and better,” noted a complimentary Greg Popovich, San Antonio’s head coach.
Nets’ guard LeVert sums up their situation best. “Every win is big for us.” Every game, especially at home, is important for us. And he’s correct as it applies to their final 40 days.