Despite the fact the Nets emerged from the West Coast portion of their eight-game, 17-day Circus Trip with a respectable 4-3 record, hot streaks from both the Knicks and Pacers have left P.J. Carlesimo’s crew with fading hopes of climbing higher than the fourth seed in the East.

But as the Nets reconvene for practice today in East Rutherford ahead of tomorrow’s finale of the Circus Trip in Cleveland against the Cavaliers, they also have to worry about trying to maintain that fourth seed and staying in front of the Bulls and Hawks, who sit in fifth and sixth place, respectively.

“I just think there’s still too much time left to worry about that,” said Carlesimo, the Nets interim coach. “We’re still in that same circumstance. As much as we feel good about the fact that we’ve won [recently], we still can get up to two or three [in the conference] and we can go down to six or seven.”

In reality, though, the chances of the Nets moving up to two or three — and, with it, avoiding the possibility of facing the defending champion Heat until the Eastern Conference Finals — have taken a big hit over the past two weeks.

While the Nets held their own on their West Coast trip, they trail the Knicks, who have won eight straight. The Nets also trail the Pacers, who defeated the Clippers last night and lead the Nets by five games with just nine games to play.

“That’s what they’re supposed to do, right?” Deron Williams said after Saturday’s loss in Utah of their rivals’ hot streaks. “We’re losing ... I told you we were concerned about us.

“We lost the last two, so we can’t really worry about them winning, we have to worry about us losing.”