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Knicks, Nets back in playoff hunt?
On Wednesday, the Brooklyn Nets snapped the Golden State Warriors' 10-game winning streak. A night later, the New York Knicks knocked off the defending champion Miami Heat. The Nets now have won four in a row. The Knicks have won four of five. The Nets now occupy the Eastern Conference's eighth spot. The Knicks are 10th, but just a game out of the playoffs. In other words, perhaps Gotham's hoops demise was declared prematurely. Can these teams sustain the chase in the shaky East -- one whose sixth-place team, Chicago, is 15-18 and just traded perhaps its best healthy player?
When should coaches rip players?
Does ripping the players in public work for a coach? We might find out soon. Monday night, Kings coach Mike Malone, frustrated after a turnover-fueled loss to the Pelicans, called out his players and named names. He wasn't alone: Nets coach Jason Kidd told the media his team is "comfortable with losing" after they were blown out by the Pacers. The Kings and Nets are struggling for different reasons, but it remains to be seen if challenging the players in public will lead to better results.
Brighter outlook -- Knicks or Nets?
The New York Knicks weren't supposed to light up the league this season, but their floor seemed like a low playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. And yet, after Thursday night's game at the Brooklyn Nets, Carmelo Anthony & Co. are just 4-13. The Nets, meanwhile, are 5-14 -- but lost Thursday's game by 30. And they were supposed to be the contending team of the two. Woof. Needless to say, things don't look good in Gotham. Which franchise's outlook is better, if ever-so-slightly?
This probably isn't what Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov had in mind when he committed millions of dollars to his team's payroll for the 2013-14 season. But sources tell ESPN.com's Ohm Youngmisuk and Marc Stein that rookie coach Jason Kidd has Prokhorov's support despite the Nets' 3-10 record and five straight losses entering Monday's games. Injuries to key performers have hurt the Nets, but so have the team's difficulties competing in the third quarter of games. Will Brooklyn get back on track and become the playoff contender it was expected to be?
It don't come easy
Jason Kidd's shakedown cruise as an NBA head coach hasn't been smooth sailing.
Injuries to key players including Deron Williams have hampered Kidd's ability to develop a consistent player rotation.
Misery loves company
Brooklyn has company at the bottom of the Atlantic Division and in New York, as both the Nets and the Knicks have struggled.Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
What's wrong with the Nets?
The Indiana Pacers are 9-1. The Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls are rolling after slow starts. But the fourth (assumed) Eastern Conference contender is still struggling. That would be the Brooklyn Nets, who fell to 3-7 on Monday with a 108-98 home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, a defeat that both Deron Williams and Brook Lopez missed with injuries. Should Nets fans be worried about their team's shaky start?