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Are the Brooklyn Nets headed for the Playoffs?

Yash Matange
FEATURED WRITER
Modified 11 Jan 2014, 11:22 IST
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The Brooklyn Nets

Most people at this time of the year make a conscious effort to stick to their New Year’s resolutions and make sure they don’t give up too soon.

No team waits for the New Year to make changes in their play but in the NBA, if you’re down in the dumps, it’s different. When you change the calendars for the year it’s as good a time as any for a struggling team to make a positive change to its play, and so far no team has demonstrated that trait better than the Brooklyn Nets.

On Wednesday night, when the Nets beat the red hot Golden State Warriors 102-98, they accomplished more than just the W.

- They are so far unbeaten in 2014 with a record of 4-0;

- They snapped the Warriors’ 10 game winning streak; and

- They joined Playoff contention by grabbing the 8th and final spot.

Did anybody expect a team with a record 10-21 to achieve all of the above sans All-Stars Deron Williams and Brook Lopez?

I doubt anybody expected them to achieve what they have. This four-game win streak makes it seem that the Nets have what it takes to make the Playoffs, an achievement which once seemed impossible, but the rest of the teams in the East also played a hand in the Nets making to the 8th spot, by playing worse basketball.

Thanks to the rest of the East and the Nets’ current performance, there has been a lot to cheer about in Brooklyn since the start of the new year. Here’s a list of those reasons.

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Early disappointing performances

The Nets were plagued with a stretch of poor performances very early in the season

Touted to be among the title contenders in the East prior to the season, the Brooklyn Nets fans were looking forward to the season after a splash in the summer.

The team added veterans Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko to a roster already having Williams and Joe Johnson listed. The proposed starting line-up of Garnett, Pierce, Johnson, Williams and Lopez had 35 All-Star appearances among them.

But the swagger the team carried after defeating the Miami Heat in the their first match of the season at the Barclays Center has been buried deep after embarrassing losses to teams like the Washington Wizards, Orlando Magic and the Charlotte Bobcats.

Injuries too contributed to their terrible start to the season. Early in the season Terry, Kirilenko, Lopez and even Williams would make appearances in suits due to injuries. Although not injured, Garnett and Pierce saw reduced playing minutes so as to ensure they remained fit for the long-term.

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In certain games the effort of the guys on the floor was questioned by many. There was a stretch of 9 games in November where they managed to win only one game, the lone win coming by a slim two point margin on the back of a clutch shot by Johnson.

Although the month of December was slightly more encouraging, the team could not manage any consistency.

The management never withdrew their support but Jason Kidd still came under high scrutiny in the media after there were reports from a veteran scout that his contribution on the bench was close to nil.

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Published 11 Jan 2014, 11:22 IST
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