The Brooklyn Nets made the playoffs on Thursday night -- which means:
1.Brook Lopez will be going to the postseason for the first time. Lopez appeared in all 82 games for the 2009-10 team that went 12-70, so this has to be extremely special for him. The 24-year-old has been Brooklyn’s most consistent player this season, averaging 19 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. He’s fourth in the NBA in PER and made his first All-Star team earlier this season.
2.The Nets can now set their sights on winning the Atlantic Division title. Although most of the team has downplayed its significance, Lopez said Thursday on ESPN NewYork 98.7 that it’s definitely a goal for the Nets. The franchise’s last division title was in 2006. Brooklyn (40-28) trails the New York Knicks (40-26) by just a game in the standings, though the Knicks have two games in hand. This race is likely to come down to the wire.
3.Deron Williams will be going to the postseason for the first time as a Net. Williams was extremely upset about being traded to the Nets in February of 2010. After all, his wife was pregnant at the time and the team was just about to head overseas to play in London. But things have gotten better since. Williams, who signed a five-year, $98 million contract in the offseason, is finally feel good and has been extremely productive since the All-Star break. If the 28-year-old point guard continues to play the way he has, the Nets are going to be a darkhorse to make a deep playoff run -- assuming they can avoid the Miami Heat as long as possible.