The nets come from the all-star break with a discouraging street map and without their star player Kyrie Irving. If they want to reach the playoffs, they have to earn their place on the track.
“We know that we have a difficult schedule. Sixteen games on the street and we're getting some kind of money now, ”said coach Kenny Atkinson. "We have to play well to stay where we are and even improve." We have to play really well. We understand that the schedule is not easy. "
The Nets, currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, are returning from Thursday's all-star break with a game in Philadelphia, a rematch of last season's difficult playoff series. The return to the postseason requires some work.
Granted, the nets are six games behind Pacers with sixth place, but they are only five games behind Wizards with ninth place. So it would appear to take a terrible run or breakdown to see that they do anything other than seventh or eighth place.
But after the news that Irving is on the way to a specialist with the same shoulder strain that cost him 26 games in a row earlier this season, the networks will be understaffed.
"We just have to play with who we have. It is not easy. It is not ideal. But it is the cards that are being given to us," said Point Guard Spencer Dinwiddie, who is asked to continue supporting Irving. "We must continue to do our best and do what we have to do to get into the playoffs."
The networks still have 29 games left, with the remaining opponents holding a total win of 0.499 percent. It's not the toughest plan, but they cling to a precarious two game lead at Magic at the eighth start, and Orlando has the third-lightest remaining schedule at 0.464.
To be surpassed by the magic would trigger a nightmare playoff matchup in the first round with the NBA-leading Bucks.
"Of course, we'll have a lot of tough games after the All Star break," said Joe Harris.
"After the all-star break, each team takes on a little bit because they know it's the home track of the season and the boys are fighting for playoff spots, the boys are battling for placement, the home advantage, whatever it may be . " DeAndre Jordan said. “So we know how serious it is. We just have to be able to increase our intensity and hopefully outperform other teams. "
It will not be easy to overtake the Pacers or others. But the task starts on Thursday and will start without Irving.