Starting Five: Can the Nets win the Atlantic?

NEW YORK -- Is the Atlantic Division race over?

It was easy to think about that following the Brooklyn Nets’ loss and the Toronto Raptors’ win on Wednesday night.

The Nets (40-34) trail the Raptors (43-32) by 2 1/2 games in the standings with eight games left to make up what is starting to feel like an insurmountable deficit.

Brooklyn and Toronto both have just one game remaining against a sub-.500 opponent.

“You try to win as many as you can, but at the same time, we never controlled our destiny,” Paul Pierce said.

“It wasn’t like we were ahead of [Toronto] anyway. But the goal is finishing up this season winning as many games as we can, but we’ve also gotta get better. It’s all about the little things in the playoffs. I just tried to focus on telling the guys we’ve gotta come out better at the start of games -- especially on the road.”

The Nets also trail the Chicago Bulls (43-32) by 2 1/2 games for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference and homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Brooklyn has won a franchise-record 14 games in a row at Barclays Center, but is just a 14-22 road team.

The Nets are expected to get back Kevin Garnett (back) and Andrei Kirilenko (ankle) over the weekend.

That certainly will help. But will it be too little too late?

Question: Do you think the Nets still have a chance to win the Atlantic? Let us know in the comments section below.

In case you missed it: Injury updates from GM Billy King, the Nets got beat badly by the Knicks and Jason Kidd and Joe Johnson talked about picking up technical fouls.

Stat right: The Nets are 10-11 at on the road since Jan. 1, though just 2-5 in their last seven.

Up next: The Nets are off Thursday.