3. The NBA world is watching, so let’s take advantage of it
The Brooklyn Nets have won seven straight games and have had a definite buzz about them in the national media — in a positive vibe — for the first time in a long time.
Even noted New York Knicks apologist Stephen A. Smith was praising the Nets after their victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, saying on The Stephen A. Smith Show on ESPN Radio that the Nets “deserve respect.”
While we can neither confirm nor deny that Stephen A. Smith saying nice things about the Nets is, in fact, one of the four signs of the apocalypse, a national talking head discussing the franchise without open bursts of laughter and discussions of draft picks is a pleasant change.
Even BreakingT, an online T-shirt distributor that caters to those in-the-moment moments is featuring the Nets for the first time.
(To answer the question, yes, yes I did order one.)
Brooklyn enters play Friday night 10th in the Eastern Conference, just a half-game behind the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat — tied for eighth — and two games behind the sixth-place Detroit Pistons.
The Magic visit the Chicago Bulls while the Heat are idle Friday, so with a Chicago victory, the Nets would leapfrog into eighth place, percentage points ahead of Miami.
It’s way too early to start scoreboard watching, but at the same time, it’s better to be in eighth place than 10th. Be the hunted rather than the hunter when it comes to securing one of those final playoff spots in the East.
Another factor to consider heading into Friday night is this: When the Nets lost both a game to the Minnesota Timberwolves and leading scorer Caris LeVert to a dislocated right foot, their record fell to 6-8.
Brooklyn is 9-10 since losing LeVert, an event for which a long time (such as when the Nets were losing eight in a row and were 2-10 without the third-year wing) seemed like it was a season-crusher.
Now the Nets have an opportunity to get back to the break-even mark without a player who was emerging as a breakout star, even as he is now healthy enough to be on the bench in street shoes as he continues to rehab from the injury.
The Nets keep playing like this, LeVert is going to be stepping back into a playoff race, something that will continue to keep the NBA talkers busy.