EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Deron Williams isn't conceding the Atlantic Division title to the New York Knicks by any means, but the point guard realizes it's going to be nearly impossible for his Brooklyn Nets to catch them.
The Nets (42-31) trail the Knicks (46-26) by 4½ games in the standings -- five in the loss column. The Knicks face the Heat in Miami on Tuesday; the Heat will be without LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers.
A look at both teams' remaining schedules:
Nets: at Cleveland; vs. Chicago; vs. Charlotte; vs. Philadelphia; at Boston; at Indiana; at Toronto; vs. Washington; vs. Detroit.
Knicks: at Miami; at Atlanta; vs. Milwaukee; at Oklahoma City; vs. Washington; at Chicago; at Cleveland; vs. Indiana; at Charlotte; vs. Atlanta.
"It would be really tough [to finish in first place], but like I said, we've just got to be concerned with winning," Williams said Tuesday. "That's the main thing. If we win and take care of business, and they lose some games, then we catch them, that's good. That's all we're really concerned with."
The Nets are currently in fourth place in the Eastern Conference playoff standings, just in front of the Atlanta Hawks (42-33) and Chicago Bulls (40-32).
"I think we just have to keep winning. That’s what I look at," Williams said. "Like I said, the Hawks and the Bulls are right behind us. We've got to win."
Brook Lopez believes it's important to get home-court advantage -- even if it's just for the first round.
"We're gong to put ourselves in the best position possible come playoff time and work from there," Lopez said. "It's just about playing each game, playing a possession at a time."
Lopez landed on his hip in the team's loss in Denver, but says it's no trouble at all.
"I felt the pain down my leg a little bit when I landed," he said. "I felt it, I was limping the rest of that game but the next morning I honestly felt fine and I felt fine in the Utah game."