Only six games to go before the Brooklyn Nets arrive at the first postseason action the franchise has seen in six years, so nothing -- theoretically -- can go too wrong before then.
Almost nothing, anyway.
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The Nets, currently fourth in the Eastern Conference and hanging on to the last spot for home-court advantage in the first round, could slip to fifth or sixth and have to start the playoffs on the road. On its face, that doesn't sound terribly frightening, as their success on the road (21-17) is comparable to at home (23-15).
"I like what we've done on the road," coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "The records are similar, you don't normally expect that. Why, I'm not exactly sure."
But they were 2-5 in their last seven home games before Saturday night's win over the Bobcats, including losses to two possible first-round playoff opponents, Chicago and Atlanta. Not that any guarantees come from steaming into the postseason on a roll. "The Knicks," Carlesimo said, "are probably playing better than anybody in the whole league. Unfortunately, when you start all over [in the postseason], the matchups probably trump how well you've been playing."
Most important through these last six games, he said, is to get shooting guard Joe Johnson healthy after problems with his heel, "getting him back to playing the way he's capable of playing. And we have to be careful not to overextend our other guys."
Also, the Nets must avoid those demon turnovers. "[If] we don't turn the ball over," Carlesimo said, "we generally score 100 points. When you start turning the ball over, just all the problems you get -- your defense is not as good because you're giving up easy baskets. All that."
So, things can go wrong.