Kenny Atkinson, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

This season hasn’t exactly panned out as expected, but there’s still a glimmer of hope that the Brooklyn Nets can turn things around.

There was optimism entering a five-game gauntlet against some of the league’s best opposition back on Jan. 14. Kyrie Irving was back, and the Brooklyn Nets had won back-to-back contests after a previous seven-game slide.

However, those semblances of hope and excitement were met with the cruel reality of disappointment. After failing to win any of the five contests, it’s now or never for the Brooklyn Nets.

Sitting at 18-25 and in sole possession of the eighth seed, things could, technically, be worse. That said, there were higher aspirations for this squad in the summer. Fans had hopes that they weren’t going to be an early first-round exit. The Nets were supposed to take the next step following a successful 2018/19 campaign.

Thus far, they have not done yet. There’s still time, but the clock is ticking.

The next seven games are all against sub-.500 teams; Detroit (twice), Phoenix, New York, Chicago, Washington, and Golden State. The Nets are 13-9 against teams with a sub-.500 record, which isn’t bad. Not bad isn’t going to be good enough, they’re going to have to be damn near perfect down this stretch.

There are no more excuses, mainly because they’ve run out of them. The eighth seed and seventh seed can be the difference between a four-game sweep and a hard-fought series.

The Miami Heat are currently the second seed in the eastern conference; the Nets have played them well. In the two games, the teams faced off, the Nets have split the contests—with their defeat coming in heartbreaking fashion in the final minutes.

That’s a much more favorable matchup than the superpowered Milwaukee Bucks that have been historically dominant.

With the Orlando Magic two games ahead of Brooklyn in the standings, the Nets can ill afford to go anything worse than 6-1 during this seven-game stretch. Five of the Magic’s next six games are against playoff teams. That presents an opportunity for the Nets to take the seventh seed.

If the Nets do go 6-1 in the following contests, they would sit at 24-26 with 32 games remaining. Not spectacular, but they’d be in a much better position than they currently are. However, as we know, there are no nights off in the NBA and it’s easy to get ahead of yourself.

This team hasn’t shown any form of consistency thus far this season., That makes it hard to believe that they’ll find some now. That shouldn’t matter if they want to make the playoffs. They have to get back into the win column in consecutive fashion after losing 12 of their last 14.

To reiterate, it’s now or never. The Nets’ soft schedule has come at the perfect time. They need to take advantage of this opportunity.

According to Tankathon, the Nets have the 11th-easiest schedule remaining. After a tumultuous start to this calendar year, that’s quite welcoming.

The season isn’t lost, yet. There’s still hope, it’s just running out fast.

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