Nets at Full Strength For Regular Season Finale
Josh Newman , Field Reporter
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – After resting all of its starting lineup on Monday evening against the Washington Wizards, the Nets proclaimed everyone healthy and available tonight when they close the regular season against the Washington Wizards.
As one would expect with the Nets locked into the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference and nothing to play for, the starters will play approximately 18-24 minutes according to interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo.
“I’m pretty sure everybody’s okay, they all went through shootaround and unless somebody comes up lame, I plan on playing everybody,” Carlesimo said after shootaround at PNY Center. “They’ll definitely get a sweat, they haven’t played since Sunday (at the Toronto Raptors) and we still might not play until Sunday, so they’ll definitely get some good runs. Maybe they’ll start the first and start the third, we’ll see how long they go.”
The NBA regular season heads into Game No. 82 league-wide tonight and the Nets still do not know who they will open with when the playoffs begin this weekend. A Chicago Bulls win at home over the Washington Wizards gives them the No. 5 seed and a trip to Brooklyn. The Atlanta Hawks would need a Bulls loss and a road win over a Knicks team that will be sitting several regulars to secure the No. 5 seed.
The NBA is expected to release the schedule for the first round of the playoffs late this evening.
“We might not play again until Sunday, that’s a lot of days off so it’s the reps, getting out there, getting a good sweat in and just working on us,” Deron Williams said. “We don’t wanna come out there and just take the night off because the game doesn’t mean anything as far as standings is concerned.”
Monday at shootaround was a time for reflection on this first season in Brooklyn, which had its share of bumps along the road.
Avery Johnson was fired as head coach on Dec. 27 after a 14-14 start, but the team responded under Carlesimo, going 34-19 to this point to secure home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
There have been nagging injuries, specifically to Williams, but since the All-Star break and a round of platelet-rich plasma treatment, the franchise point guard has been lights out, averaging 23.4 points and 8.1 assists to carry much of the load offensively.
“We had a pretty good year, locked up the 4-seed, have home court advantage and that’s something we’ve been talking about all year,” Williams said. “There’s been a lot of ups and downs, but anything can happen now in a seven-game series.”
Josh Newman is SNYNets.com’s Field Reporter. Follow him on Twitter for up to the minute news and banter on all things related to the Brooklyn Nets and the NBA