2006_04_snetslogo.jpgWhat had seemed all-but-guaranteed until Tuesday became certain. The Nets, thanks to a 96-94 win over visiting Atlanta, clinched the Atlantic Division title. Even if they had lost, the Nets still would have clinched, given Philadelphia's loss to Cleveland earlier in the night. Gothamist doesn't care that the Nets didn't look sharp or that Atlanta almost won despite being shorthanded. Thirteen-game winning streaks like the Nets' have a way of taking the sting off a lackluster performance. New Jersey can tie its franchise record (set in 2004) with a win over Charlotte at home on Thursday

Besides the franchise-record streak, the Nets have other things to play for. They suddenly find themselves 3.5 games behind Miami in the race for the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Who knows how important that will be. Home court never matters more than a seventh game. What seemed impossible only weeks ago now has a slight chance of happening. Either way, the Nets will enter the playoffs with a head full of steam.