The Brooklyn Nets had not been above .500 until all season until Wednesday's win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Max-contract point guard Deron Williams does not care about that questionable track record. He believes the Nets can beat any team in the playoffs, they just need seven games to do it:
Williams has had a disappointing year so far (down 4.9 points and 1.3 assists per game from last season) and struggled with injuries, but the Nets rotation has jelled since the calendar turned to 2014. They have gone 20-8 since New Year's Day, and spirits are understandably high in the locker room.
Even coach Jason Kidd seemed willing to disregard the woeful 10-21 start to the season. All that matters is the now:
The Nets peeked their heads above water at 30-29 by beating the Memphis Grizzlies. They led by 30 points in the final minute of the third quarter and held on, 103-94.
Williams came up with 16 points, seven dimes and four steals. Joe Johnson led all scorers with 21 points, and trade acquisition Marcus Thornton dropped 20 points off the bench.
Brooklyn currently sits in the No. 6 seed, seven games clear of the ninth-place Detroit Pistons. The Nets seem assured of the playoffs but remain three games behind the Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division. Both teams are 7-3 over their last 10 games.
However, Williams said the Nets could beat any team, and that means first getting past the cream of the crop in the East: the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat. The Nets were swept by Indy in the season series, and while they actually beat the Heat twice, LeBron James and Co. have a whole separate gear in the postseason.
While D-Will's confidence in his team's potential is laudable, the inconsistent season suggests that he's been deluded by the streak of success.