The Brooklyn Nets? In a crisis? What crisis?
"Nobody's in a crisis mode," coach Avery Johnson said Monday. "You're in a crisis mode when you lose four games in a row -- or whatever amount -- going into the playoffs. You're in a crisis mode when you lose four games in a playoff series."
The Nets are on a season-high four-game losing streak heading into Round 2 of the East River Rivalry against the New York Knicks on Tuesday night.
"From what I'm seeing in the Eastern Conference and even in our division," Johnson said, "we're still within five games with 60-something games to go."
The Nets are 11-8, sitting in fifth place in the East and 3½ games behind the Knicks (15-5) for the No. 1 seed.
"We'll be fine," Deron Williams said. "Every team goes through something like this. Hopefully it's the low point in the season. And hopefully we don't have this happen again. We've gotta fight out of it, figure out some things.
"We have to be ready for tomorrow. We've lost four straight and we're not happy with the way we've been playing. We've gotta snap out of it. We've got a funk going on and we've gotta get out of it."
The Nets took Round 1 of the East River Rivalry, winning 96-89 in overtime on Nov. 26. But they've been on a downward spiral since, while the Knicks have been on the upswing.
"I still feel it," Johnson said of the rivalry. "Hopefully we'll have the same type of intensity start to finish, because that was one of our better games. And we have that capability of playing at a high level. We just haven't seen it for a longer spurt in a game like we need to, because we don't have as much margin for error. We've got to play at a high level."
Why have the Knicks been so good recently?
Johnson pointed to three things.
• Their 3-point shooting. The Knicks lead the NBA in both attempts and makes from beyond the arc.
• Carmelo Anthony. "He can score anywhere on the floor, and obviously his finger wasn't hurt last night. He put up big numbers (34 points)."
• Raymond Felton: "He's having an outstanding year. Obviously there was a lot of (negative) talk when they signed him, but we respect him, and he showed it against Miami, he can dominate a game. So we've got a lot of work to do defensively."
D-Will also pointed out how big of an addition his buddy Jason Kidd has been for New York.
"I said that last game: He's a big part of what they do, just running the offense, getting in the sets, making sure everybody's organized," D-Will said. "That's what he's great at."
Still, the Nets point guard thinks it's just another game. Try telling that to the Knicks.
"Those guys are down 0-1 to us. They're gonna try to come in and even it," Johnson said.