Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 1/30/13
Game time: 8 p.m. ETTV: Sun Sports EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - P.J. Carlesimo is convinced after a month on the job: The Brooklyn Nets are a winning team. He still needs to see, even after one of the best months in franchise history, if they can consistently be one against the teams already at that level. Well, here comes their chance. The Nets begin a tough three-game stretch Wednesday night against LeBron James and the NBA champion Miami Heat, who have won the last 12 meetings and remain the league's standard in Carlesimo's eyes. "They're the best team in the league until somebody beats them," Carlesimo said Tuesday after practice. "Maybe when the year's out and we've played 82 games, somebody will have a better record than them. But they're still the champions and they're still going to the finals on a pretty regular basis, so until somebody knocks them off, this to me is the barometer you measure against and we haven't shown yet that we can beat these guys. So that's a huge challenge for us." So are the Chicago Bulls at home Friday, and the Los Angeles Lakers next Tuesday. Starting Wednesday on ESPN, it's the kind of high-profile stretch that can earn the Nets, who may be a little overlooked despite a 27-18 record, some added respect within the league. "It's a nice stretch for us," guard Joe Johnson said. "I wouldn't say a tough one, but it's a nice one and we should be ready and prepared for this challenge. But we're going to start first with Miami and try to get over that hump." The Heat (28-13) already beat the Nets twice this season - "smacked," says Carlesimo, who described another Nets defeat as "annihilated," apparently believing that when the Nets fall, "losing" isn't enough of a description. Fortunately for them, it hasn't happened often since Carlesimo was promoted to interim coach when Avery Johnson was fired Dec. 27. They have since gone 13-4, winning eight straight at home and pulling within 1 12 games of the neighboring Knicks for first place in the Atlantic Division. The Nets have tied a franchise record for the most wins in January (11) and can equal their best total in any month with a victory Wednesday. Along the way, they won at Oklahoma City and New York, the kind of performances that give the Nets reason for confidence going into this stretch. "When we play the way we're capable of playing ... we've beaten a couple of the better teams in the league, even on the road, so we just got to play," Carlesimo said. "We're playing in our place, which is a huge plus for us." The Nets rebounded from their first two-game losing streak under Carlesimo with a 97-77 victory over Orlando on Monday. Yet Carlesimo was still dwelling Tuesday on the losses last week at Memphis and Houston that saddled them with a 2-2 mark on a road trip which began with an impressive victory over the Knicks. "After the steps we took back last week, we have to show that we can be - not that we can be good, we've established that - but that we can be good consistently and that we can be good against the better teams," Carlesimo said. In case anyone needed a reminder of the Heat's status, they got it Monday when the team visited the White House to be honored by President Obama for their 2012 NBA title. James said the experience was like, "Mama, I made it." The reigning league MVP has been efficient against the Nets this season, averaging 20.5 points on 55.6 percent shooting along with 10.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists. Dwyane Wade, though, has been the offensive star in the season series, averaging 28.0 points and shooting 70.6 percent from the floor in the two victories, both in Miami. The Heat had their four-game winning streak snapped Sunday with a 100-98 double-overtime loss at Boston. James had 34 points, a season-high 16 rebounds, seven assists and three steals as Miami shot just 40.6 percent -- its third-worst mark of the season. Brooklyn has held opponents to 42.4 percent shooting during its eight-game run at home.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Sanu: Halftime show played role in Super Bowl collapse

James Dolan is among potential group of investors of new arena for New York Islanders

Report: Rams, Clippers discussing NBA venue in Inglewood

Terrence Jones reportedly interested in joining Celtics

LeBron reverses course, says he ‘always felt good’ about Cavs

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Ole Miss tried to implicate Mississippi State in football scandal

Jamaal Charles could be on the roster bubble

Jimmy Butler on state of Bulls: ‘I just want to win at all costs’

Report: Giants will be ‘aggressive’ in trying to sign Jason Pierre-Paul

Report: Porzingis avoided ligament damage in ankle

Brooks Koepka meltdown includes whiff, stomping head off driver

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker