Nets closing in on postseason spot
(Sports Network) - New Jersey Nets head coach Lawrence Frank probably has lost more hair this season, but his club is on the brink of the playoffs for a sixth consecutive year.
The regular season is winding down (4 games) and the Nets currently sit seventh overall in the Eastern Conference playoff race, just a game ahead of the Orlando Magic and two games in front of the Indiana Pacers. New Jersey is also two games behind the Washington Wizards for the sixth spot in the conference standings.
New Jersey hasn't missed the postseason since the 2000-01 campaign, and has won six of its last nine games. The remaining schedule features a pair of games against New York, including Friday's showdown, Indiana and Chicago.
In Thursday's 94-76 loss to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Nets forward Richard Jefferson received a crash-course lesson in basketball. Limited by an ankle problem this season, Jefferson managed only five points against James, who scorched his counterpart for a game-high 35 points.
Richardson better take that game film home and study it daily because James and the Cavs could possibly be New Jersey's first-round opponent. Cleveland is battling Chicago for the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference. Even though Jefferson is on a minutes restriction to keep his ankle healthy, Frank knows the former Arizona star can and must play better than he did against the Cavs.
Before posting just five points in the loss to Cleveland, Jefferson had scored 27 points and 35 points, respectively. But it was just one poor game for Jefferson, and he has the ability to shake the performance off and regroup.
Jefferson, though, is not the only weapon Frank has at his disposal. Don't ever forget about the dynamic duo of Jason Kidd and Vince Carter. Kidd and Carter are much like Batman and Robin when the two are clicking. Instead of fighting crime, the two fend off opposing backcourts which is why the Nets are in the position they are currently in.
Had Kidd or Carter been injured or on another roster, Nets fans would most likely focus their attention to the New Jersey Devils. And that would be a major surprise since the Devils are one of the best teams in the NHL and shockingly have a weak turnout for almost every tilt at the Meadowlands.
It's too early to talk Giants or Jets football, so Frank and the Nets must win to keep the hoops faithful tuned in.NJN