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Jim Mancari,

If you give your opponent more chances to score by turning the ball over, the other team will eventually capitalize on those chances.

In both of the Nets’ recent losses to the Mavericks and Bulls, Brooklyn has turned the ball over a combined 41 times. Turning the ball over 20-plus times for games is almost certainly a recipe for disaster.

With the schedule winding down, the Nets can’t afford to beat themselves. They’re in a position right now in which no team – other than the Miami Heat – is distancing itself in the Eastern Conference.

While a playoff berth appears likely, nothing is certain, especially with the Nets’ recent pace of turnovers.

After the two weekend losses, Brooklyn is now 17-21 on the season when committing 14 or more turnovers and 17-5 when turning the ball over fewer than 13 times. This obviously proves that if the Nets can hang onto the ball, they’ll have a much better chance of winning games.

The last time the Nets had 20 or more turnovers in two consecutive games was in 2007, when the team went through a stretch of three-straight games giving up the ball 20-plus times. The Nets turned it over 20 times against the Celtics, 22 times against the Magic and 26 times against the Heat, which naturally resulted in three straight losses.

The team has been inconsistent this year, but that’s no excuse for the propensity to turn the ball over. Even during the Nets’ 12-70 year during the 2009-2010 season, the team never had back-to-back games of 20-plus turnovers.

Before 2007, the Nets actually had blowout wins over the Suns and Super Sonics in 2003 in 20-turnover games. Rather than hope for these rare occurrences, Brooklyn should instead focus on being less careless with the ball.

The Nets have the talent to be one of the top teams in the East, but it seems like their main enemy right now is themselves.

Jim Mancari is a Contributor to Follow him on Twitter @JMMancari.

Tags: turnovers, own worst enemy, Brooklyn, eastern conference, Columns, nets, miami heat
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