That's because the Nets kick off a pivotal stretch tonight at the Barclays Center. Two of their next three meetings with be with the Sixers, with a home game against the Wizards sandwiched in between. Two tough match ups with the Pacers loom (on the 23 and 28 of December), but outside of them, and arguably a Bulls team on Christmas that's without Derrick Rose, the Nets have finally hit an elongated soft spot in their schedule.
Home against Philly, home against Washington, at Philly, with games against Milwaukee and Sacramento scattered around the Pacers and Bulls meetings. That's a stretch where the Nets can do some damage. Philadelphia has lost six in a row, and the Nets have to make sure that that streak hits seven. Brooklyn is just two games off the division pace, and a hot stretch against beatable opponents could place them in the driver's seat in the division as we turn the calendar to 2014. That's a huge opportunity.
How the Nets handle these games mentally, how healthy they stay physically, and how well they continue to come together with Deron Williams running the show should ultimately tell the tale of the tape. It's time to get things done, and it starts tonight.