And suddenly, the Eastern Conference is on the verge of belonging to the Brooklyn Nets. While the Bucks have been wandering in the woods and the Celtics reduced to win one, lose one travails, the Nets have ripped off 11 straight and sit a mere 1.5 games out of the one seed. There have been a number of close calls in that run (5 of those games were won by four points or fewer), but Brooklyn has gradually built up a top-10 offense and top-10 defense since sputtering out a 2-6 start to the season. Almost any coach with a pulse would have brought more tactical awareness to the table than Steve Nash; Jacque Vaughn may simply be better at keeping out of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s way, but that is a skill in and of itself within that organization.
Their next “tough” test comes on Friday, January 6th in a road game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Elsewhere around the league, Pacers-Sixers should be a fun East throw down on Wednesday, with Clippers-Nuggets doing the same for the West on Thursday. And Pelicans-Mavericks is probably the weekend’s most appealing game on paper on Saturday.
Keep tabs on the league this week in this open thread, and fingers crossed we can move some pinned stuff around on the homepage to keep it in the site’s opening slots for easy access!