Brooklyn Nets ranked as the fifth-best team in the NBA by ESPN; third-best in the East

The Brooklyn Nets were ranked as the fifth-best in the NBA in a recent article by ESPN published on Wednesday. Additionally, the Nets were ranked as the third-best team in the Eastern Conference.

At the writing of the piece, Brooklyn had a 27-16 record. Since then, the Nets are 28-17. In the two games that Brooklyn has played since then, they went 1-1. The first of the two games, a 117-112 loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Nets had a lifeless first three quarters before turning things around in the fourth quarter. In the second of the two games, a 117-106 win over the Utah Jazz, Brooklyn started the game on fire and didn’t look back. Kyrie Irving scored 48 points (season-high) in the game and made eight three-pointers as the Nets played well for an entire game for the first time since Kevin Durant hurt his right knee.

Brooklyn’s next game is Sunday against the Golden State Warriors. Here’s what ESPN’s Nick Friedell had to say about the Nets being ranked as the fifth-best team in the league:

“It feels like deja vu all over again for the Nets, who just aren’t the same without Kevin Durant. The Nets come into Thursday’s game against Phoenix having lost three straight after winning 18 of 20 with Durant healthy. The offensive rhythm hasn’t been there, and the defense has been inconsistent without one of its key players on the floor. The Nets went 5-16 without Durant last season while he rehabbed an MCL injury in his left knee. They appear headed for a similar fate unless things turn around quickly as he rehabs an MCL in his right knee this year.”

List

Player grades: Kyrie Irving drops 48 in 117-106 win over the Utah Jazz

List

NBA Twitter reacts to Nets' clutch 117-106 win over the Jazz

Story originally appeared on Nets Wire