Like it says in the Jay-Z/Kanye West song, the Brooklyn Nets have gotten their swagger back. And referencing Willie Nelson’s country classic, they’re on the road again. Their longest road trip this season. Seven immensely tough games starting out west that can determine Brooklyn’s seeding in the Eastern Conference post season which begins next month.
They hit Utah tomorrow night (Saturday, March 16) to play the Jazz after playing the Oklahoma Thunder last night, Wednesday. Brooklyn follows up Sunday with an appearance in Los Angeles to play the Clippers, a scheduled back-to-back, then onto Sacramento to play the Kings Tuesday.
Brooklyn will have some time to adjust, evaluate where they are in the standings after the Kings. Their next scheduled game is Friday, returning to L.A. to play the Lakers before departing to Portland to face the Trailblazers the following Monday.
What makes this road trip immensely tough for the Nets who left the city earlier this week as a 6-seed in the Eastern Conference with a four game win streak, three games over .500 is who they’re scheduled to play. Except for the Kings and Lakers, Brooklyn faces top tier teams with better or comparable records as theirs.
Sacramento is hungry, seeded nine trying to overtake the seventh or eigth Western Conference playoff position. The last two. The Lakers are done for the season, but LeBron James is on their roster, therefore a win is always possible. Both teams also present a problem for Brooklyn.
“We are still only a little over .500,” noted Brooklyn’s head coach, Kenny Atkinson, after Monday night’s 103-75 home win over the Detroit Pistons.
“Look at this road trip and the games we have. I’m not sure we are favored in any of them. We know we have a difficult task ahead.”
It is difficult, and it doesn’t get easier for the Nets upon their return from this last west coast run. They’ll then face the Philadelphia 76ers on the road, a 3-seed, the Boston Celtics, the 5, the Milwaukee Bucks, the team with the best NBA record, and the Toronto Raptors, the 2. Those three are at home, then Milwaukee again on the road, the Indianapolis Pacers, a 4 seed before closing out the regular season at home against the Miami Heat, currently an 8th seed who like the Nets, are fighting to secure and maintain their lower Eastern Conference post season position.
These are all playoff-type games that remain on their schedule, explained Nets second year center Jarrett Allen.
“We have to bring the right mentality, and be ready for it,” Allen said after dropping 11 points with 8 rebounds against Detroit, one of seven players with double-digit points while assisting Brooklyn in holding the Pistons to the lowest amount of points scored against the Nets this season.
“We came in with dominance and force, and just kept it throughout.” An important point to reference for Brooklyn to carry them on through to the post season.