Splitting the Nets' final 32 games

How Brooklyn must overcome a telling pair of record swings to succeed
02/10/2013 1:08 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

P.J. Carlesimo's Nets must find a way to break a pair of troubling trends in the final 32 games.(AP)
With three games in four days separating them from the All-Star Break, the Brooklyn Nets seemed to have reached another crossroads in the NBA season.

Through 50 games, the Nets stand at 29-21, good for second place in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. Both interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo and predecessor Avery Johnson have said that the team is a work in progress all season, and while any roster changes ahead of the Feb. 21 trade deadline are up to general manager Billy King and team brass, what the players can control on the floor is a pair of splits that, if they hold up, could mean disappointment come April for a team with high expectations.

The first is the home/road split, which, one that sees the Nets sit at 18-9 inside the Barclays Center compared to just 11-12 as the visitors after Friday’s loss at Washington, and the second is their split in games against teams above or below .500; based on records at game time, the Nets are 18-2 against teams at or below even, but just 11-19 against those in the proverbial black.

Looking at both sets, as well as their conference records (22-11 vs. the East, 7-10 vs. the West), it seems like the Nets would be most in their wheelhouse playing a bottom-half team at Barclays, while an above-.500 team on the road would be their Achilles heel – even after you remember that perhaps the Nets’ signature win this season is a victory in Oklahoma City.

So how does all of this pertain to the future? Taking a look at the Nets’ schedule, you can see the following breakdowns: the team has 18 road games vs. 14 at Barclays, and also 17 games against teams currently at or above even against just 15 against those with losing records.

The Nets are also just 3-5 in their last eight, and beginning with Sunday night’s home date against a 39-12 Spurs team that has the NBA’s best record, they play seven in a row and eight of their next 10 against teams currently above .500 – and only four of those 10 are on the road, which, while good given their home-road split now, means they have 14 away games in their final 22.

Translation: They have a bit of an uphill climb, but the Nets can determine their identity over the next three weeks by overcoming their splits and putting some signature wins on their resume. That struggle begins against the NBA’s best team, but in a final stretch where they play 22 of their 32 games in back-to-back scenarios, hardship is something they’ll have to endure on the road to where they really want to be: their first playoff berth since 2006-07.

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