Winning streaks of even three games have been hard to come by for every team in the Atlantic Division except first-place Toronto.
The results for the Nets (12-15) since Dec. 5 have been no surprise given the matchups. They lost to Atlanta, Cleveland and Chicago, then beat Philadelphia and Charlotte before another three-game skid against Miami, the Raptors and the Cavaliers. Their current two-game run has come at the expense of Detroit and Denver.
The victories have Brooklyn on the verge of winning three straight for the first time since April 4-8. The Nets won three or more in a row seven times last season.
The Celtics (10-16) are in third place behind Brooklyn but have managed a pair of three-game win streaks. The most recent surge featured victories over the 76ers, Orlando and Minnesota before they lost Sunday at Miami and to the Magic on Tuesday.
Boston was horrendous at the start against Orlando, trailing 26-9 after one quarter, but the Celtics rallied before falling short in a 100-95 defeat.
"We didn't play very well," coach Brad Stevens told the team's official website. "That was fool's gold there at the end. I credit the guys that were in at the end."
The league's two worst teams, New York and Philadelphia, trail the Celtics in the Atlantic behind a combined 9-48 record. The 76ers, however, will also get a chance to post a third straight win Friday at Portland. The Knicks won their second and third games of the season but haven't won back-to-back contests since.