The Brooklyn Nets are the hottest team in the NBA right now while riding an eight-game winning streak. The Nets are 15-5 since acquiring James Harden in a blockbuster trade.

James Harden Kyrie Irving Brooklyn Nets winning streak
Kyrie Irving (right) hugs teammate James Harden after the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City. (Image: Alonzo Adams/USA Today Sports)

The surging Nets moved into the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff standings. They are only a half-game behind the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers.

If you like betting NBA totals, the Nets have the third-best over record at 23-11. The over hits nearly 68% of the time for the Nets in a near-perfect storm for the highest-scoring team (121.4 ppg) in the NBA with the third-worst defense in the league (116.3 ppg). The Nets are ranked #24 in overall defensive rating.

During their winning streak, the defensively-challenged Nets allowed 109.5 ppg and held two opponents under 99 points, including the Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers. That’s also with Kevin Durant out of the lineup.

Nets West Coast Sweep

East Coast teams typically dread West Coast road trips with the lengthy travel between western cities and the time change. The Nets, however, thrived in the Pacific Time Zone and survived five games in eight days out West. They beatdown four potential playoff teams with impressive victories over the Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, LA Lakers, and LA Clippers.

The Nets took advantage of a Lakers squad without Anthony Davis and coasted to a 109-98 victory. The game was a lot more lopsided than the final score indicated. Harden and Irving had bad nights from 3-point range with a combined 3-for-12 clip. Despite the bricks from their stars, the Nets still prevailed. After the Nets exposed the Lakers, the trade rumors for Mo Bomba and Alec Burks are on full blast.

Harden dropped 37 points against the Clippers last Sunday and missed out on a triple-double. Irving continued his bad long-range shooting with a 2-for-11 clip from downtown. He still tallied 28 points and dished eight assists.

The streaky Irving torched the Sacramento Kings for 40 points. He knocked down nine treys on 9-for-11 shooting from beyond the arc. Since that hot night, he’s only 5-for-28, (a dismal 17.8%) from 3-point range.

No KD, No Problem

Durant missed seven games with a mild hamstring strain during the current streak, yet the Nets still continued their unbeaten streak without him.

The Nets are 12-3 this season when Harden and Kyrie Irving play together without Durant.

The Big 3 for the Nets average at least 25 points per game with Durant leading the way with 29 ppg, followed by Irving’s 27.4 ppg, and Durant’s 24.9 ppg.

Despite an obvious downtick in offense since joining the Nets, Harden has played extremely unselfishly. He leads the NBA and the Nets with 11.4 assists per game this season.

Brooklyn Futures Market

Despite a mini-skid of their own, the LA Lakers are the consensus favorite to win the 2021 NBA Championship. The Nets remain second on the NBA futures board behind the Lakers, but they’ve narrowed the gap.

According to DraftKings, the Lakers are +260 odds, while the Nets are only +325 odds to win the title.

Compared to the Nets’ Eastern Conference counterparts, Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks are +700 odds to win the NBA championship, while the Philadelphia 76ers are +1200 odds.

Less than 10 days ago, we posted an article about the coin flip race to win the Atlantic Division, with the Nets and Sixers neck-and-neck at +110 odds. Since then, the Nets won four in a row with big road wins over the Phoenix Suns, LA Lakers, and LA Clippers.

According to the most recent update on NBA divisional odds, the Nets are favorites at -200 to win the Atlantic Division, while the Sixers slipped to +180.

On Deck: Texas Three-Step

The Nets have three more games before the All-Star Break and will host Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks (15-16) on Saturday night in Brooklyn. The Mavs are currently ranked #10 in the West while team owner Mark Cuban has been denying rumors that the team is shopping the Unicorn to the highest bidder.

Next week, the Nets depart Brooklyn and hit the road to play the San Antonio Spurs (16-12) on Monday, and the Houston Rockets (11-19) on Wednesday. The Spurs are flying under the radar this season and are currently ranked #6 in the West. For some odd reason, the Spurs are only 7-8 at home this season.

If the Minnesota Timberwolves didn’t suck so badly, the Houston Rockets would be the worst team out West. The downtrodden Rockets lost nine games in a row, and their skid could reach double digits by the time the Nets blow into town. Obviously the Nets/Rockets game will be a huge deal because it will mark the first time Harden returns to Houston to battle his former squad since the four-team mega-trade.

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