<
>

Rough stretch ahead for Nets

The Brooklyn Nets are 6-2.

They are four games above .500, despite losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves; despite Joe Johnson shooting 36 percent from the field; despite being the worst third-quarter team in the NBA.

This is a good thing. It is, after all, only November. There is still plenty of season left, still plenty of time to develop continuity, work on weaknesses and solidify strengths.

The Nets will enter Tuesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers on a five-game winning streak.

As ESPN.com’s Marc Stein pointed out in his weekly Power Rankings, the five teams the Nets have beaten were a combined 13-27 as of Monday. The Boston Celtics the Nets fended off last Thursday didn’t have Rajon Rondo. (Fine, but the Nets didn’t have Gerald Wallace).

But the schedule is about to get harder. The Nets close out the month with games against the Lakers, Warriors, Clippers, Blazers, Knicks, Celtics and Magic. Only one of those games -- the last one -- should be considered a gimme, which means the starters have to pick it up and the Bench Mob has to continue to produce the way it has.

Nets GM Billy King has said he needs 20 games before he can really judge where his team is.

After November, we’ll have 15, and that should give us a pretty good idea.