EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - In his seven years with the Nets, Brook Lopez has just about seen it all. But even he hasn't been able to figure out the current team.
"I don't think that's possible," Lopez said after practice Saturday. "It's tough to decipher this team."
The Nets are playing their best basketball of the season, having won six of their last eight games. They are a half-game behind the Celtics for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and have 11 games to play. Eight of those 11 are at home, but that isn't necessarily a good thing for the Nets, who are 13-20 at Barclays Center this season.
"It doesn't matter where you are, you've got to play well," coach Lionel Hollins said. "It seems that we're more poised on the road, we play to our strengths better on the road. We do it for periods of time at home, but then we somehow just let go of the rope and we don't sustain. So [the Nets' home victory over Cleveland on Friday night] was a huge game; the Milwaukee game was a huge game, and we just have to continue. We got a lot of games coming up at home and we need to win 'em in order to go where we'd like to go."
The win over Cleveland was huge for the 31-40 Nets, but if they don't follow that up by beating the 19-52 Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, it will be quickly forgotten.
Remember the thrilling win over Golden State, the league's top team, on March 2? That was followed by a blowout loss to Charlotte at home two nights later. And that loss was followed by three more, all at home, to Phoenix, Utah and New Orleans.
According to Hollins, though, the Nets aren't looking to put any extra emphasis on winning Sunday. Win or lose, he said, they still have to win the next game.
"We couldn't worry about what happened in Boston [a 110-91 loss Monday], because the next night [in Charlotte] we had to win," Hollins said. "Boston beat us, they didn't win the next game, so they didn't really gain anything. You've got to keep winning until the season's over, and then the dust is settled and we'll know where everybody is."
Notes & quotes: Deron Williams called in sick and did not practice Saturday. Thaddeus Young (strained knee) will miss his second straight game.