With the Nets’ loss, the Wizards win over Boston, and Bulls’ loss to the Bobcats, the Raptors have sewn up the three seed, Washington has leapt over Brooklyn for the five, and Brooklyn will be the six.
The Nets will play Game One in Toronto on Saturday.
We’ll preview this match up plenty more before Saturday, but at first blush, this is going to be a doozy. These two teams have played insanely close games this season, and I think this is going to be one heck of a test for Brooklyn. Toronto closes better than any team in the league, so the Nets will have to build up some leads and outplay the Raptors down the stretch.
With many of their starters sitting, the Nets (44-38) fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers (33-49) by a score of 114-85 Wednesday evening at Quicken Loans Arena. >> Read the full recap and box score at SNY.tv.
Need to Know: Marcus Thronton and Andray Blatche led the way for the Nets with 20 points apiece.
After starting off the game with a 10-6 lead, the Nets fell behind and finished the quarter down 33-21.
The Nets outscored Cleveland 28-18 in the second. It was the only quarter of the games where Brooklyn scored more points than the Cavaliers.
Brooklyn shot 38 percent from the field to the Cavaliers’ 53 percent.
What’s Next: The Nets will play the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday.
The Raptors will host Game 1 of their series on Saturday, while the Bulls will host Game 1 of their series on Sunday, the NBA has announced.
The Chicago series will tip 7:00 PM. The Raptors start time is TBD.
For a recap on how seeding will be decided tonight, click here.
The Good: A Nets win would clinch the five seed for Brooklyn…The Nets have made a team-record 701 three pointers this season. The previous high was 652 in 2008-09 when the team was still in New Jersey…Deron Williams in inactive, which means he will end the regular season with his consecutive games with a steal streak in tact (30 games).
The Bad: Dion Waiters has topped 20 points in nine of his last 14 starts, averaging 21.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 36.6 minutes per game
over that span…Tristan Thompson has a team-high 35 double-doubles, the latest of which came Saturday against the Bucks…Brooklyn shit just 40.2% from the field their last time out in Cleveland back on Opening Night.
Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Shaun Livingston, and Mirza Teletovic will all be inactive for Wednesday’s regular season finale in Cleveland.
Livingston will miss his fifth consecutive game with a sprained toe. Teletovic is still with his family after his wife gave birth to the couple’s third child.
The following are the scenarios that will determine who the Nets play in the first round of the playoffs (h/t to Mike Mazzeo):
The five and six seeds:
- If the Nets win in Cleveland, they’ll be the five seed.
- If the Nets lose in Cleveland and Washington wins in Boston, the Nets get the six seed (The Wizards hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their 3-0 regular-season record against Brooklyn).
- If both the Nets and Wizards lose, the Nets get the fifth seed.
The three and four seed:
- If the Raptors win in New York, Toronto gets the number three seed.
- If the Raptors lose in New York and Chicago wins in Charlotte, Toronto gets the four seed (Toronto holds the tiebreaker over the Bulls by virtue of its Atlantic Division title).
- If both the Raptors and Bulls lose, the Raptors get the three seed.
I saw some assumptions on Tuesday that, by putting a skeleton lineup out against the Knicks, the Nets were trying to drop to the six seed to ensure a match up with Toronto. I think it’s fairly obvious that isn’t the case, considering the Raptors could still end up with the four seed. What is much more likely is that Brooklyn wants to ensure their health entering the weekend. If that means not pushing Shaun Livingston, so be it.
Meanwhile, Andrei Kirilenko told reporters regarding Wednesday’s game: “Everybody knows this is not an important game.” As a result, don’t be surprised if the veterans get a rest. The bottom line is the Nets want to make sure they’re fully staffed when their first round series opens. Who they get seems to make very little difference to them.
Josh Newman, Field Reporter
Eighty-one games into an enigmatic regular season, the Nets appear to have reached the point of indifference with the playoffs set to open on Saturday.
The high-water mark of this season-saving post-Jan. 1 turnaround arguably came on April 3 when Mason Plumlee’s block of a LeBron James driving layup gave the Nets an 88-87 win and a season-sweep of the Miami Heat. Since then, the Nets have dropped three of four, have looked like a team that is over the regular season and is ready for the postseason to begin.
The latest proof came on Tuesday evening. With four starters in the lineup in an effort to lock up the No. 5 seed and likely rest everyone on Wednesday in Cleveland, the Nets were instead defeated soundly by the Knicks, 109-98, at Barclays Center.
“The last 3-4 games, when you know the result doesn’t really matter, it always kind of weakens you a little bit,” Andrei Kirilenko said. “You’re playing without much concentration. I don’t know why, I guess it’s just the nature of the end of the season, especially when you’re already in the playoffs. I don’t think we’re trying to lose, but I don’t think we played good enough to win this game tonight.”
“We understand that we’re preparing ourselves for the postseason,” Joe Johnson said. “We understand we have to finish out the regular season first and knowing that we’re still playing for a seed. It’s not set in stone for us yet, so we’ve just gotta keep playing. Going into the postseason, we kind of want to be hitting on all cylinders, so we’re trying to finish this Cleveland game and get a good practice in before we play whoever.”
The indifference that appears to have set in with the regular season stretches beyond just the games and into what seed the Nets will ultimately wind up with. A win on Tuesday would have secured the No. 5 seed, while a win on Wednesday at the Cavaliers will do the same thing. If the Nets lose Wednesday and the Washington Wizards win at the Boston Celtics, the Nets will be the 6-seed.
However it shakes out, the Nets will play either the Toronto Raptors or Chicago Bulls in the first round. Going into Wednesday, the Raptors own the tiebreaker for the No. 3 seed thanks to the fact they won the Atlantic Division.
To read more of this story, click here
The Nets (44-37) continued their season-long struggle against the Knicks (35-46) on Tuesday as they fell to New York by a score of 109-98 at the Barclays Center. >> Read full AP recap and box score at SNY.tv.
Need to Know: Paul Pierce registered his 1,000 point of the season during the first quarter of Tuesday night’s game. Pierce, who fouled out in the third quarter, is the only active player to have reached that 1,000 point mark for 15 consecutive seasons in the NBA.
Marcus Thornton had a team-high 24 points, 12 of which came off of 3-pointers, during Tuesday’s game.
Mason Plumlee continued his strong rookie campaign with 16 points and nine rebounds in the loss.
The Nets, who shot 44 percent from the field on Tuesday, have gone 1-3 against the Knicks this season.
What’s Next: The Nets will play their final game of the regular season on Wednesday when they face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers at 8:00 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena.
||New York Knicks
Update 6:31 p.m.: Shaun Livingston and Alan Anderson are out of tonight’s game with a toe and ab injury, respectively. Mirza Teletovic will miss tonight’s game after his wife gave birth to twins earlier in the day. (Robbins, April 15).
The Good: Mason Plumlee recorded his fourth double-double of the season on Sunday against Orlando…Paul Pierce moved past Fat Lever into 21st place on the NBA’s all-time steals list (1,668) with four takeaways against the Magic…The Nets have the second best winning percentage against playoff teams since the All Star break.
The Bad: The Knicks lead the season series two games to one, which included two 29+ point defeats for the Nets. The Knicks haven’t lost a season series to the Nets since the 2006-07 season…In New York’s April 2 triumph, J.R. Smith led the Knicks with a team-high 24 points and six assists to go along with eight rebounds in 35 minutes…The Nets were out-rebounded 41-23 in the last meeting between these two clubs.
Is Brooklyn taking over? Deron Williams thinks so.
Prior to taking on the Knicks on Tuesday, the Nets point guard said this season — which has seen his team lock up a playoff spot with New York on the outside looking in — is all part of the Nets taking the city away from the Knicks:
“Good for us, good for our brand, good for Brooklyn basketball,” Williams told reporters, when asked about the current state of New York basketball. “It’s part of the takeover.”
I’m sure Knicks fans will have plenty to say about this. The fact is, I believe this is what the Nets were hoping for last
year: a captive audience in the playoffs so that the casual New York basketball fan could get caught up in Brooklyn basketball. Obviously, New York’s outstanding season quelled that desire. But this year, the Nets have that opportunity.
We’ve talked about this before. “Winning the town” is such a subjective thing, and it usually requires a sustained period of greatness coupled with a crosstown rival’s years of failure. The Nets have certainly gained traction in this market since the move, but they’re working against years of uncontested Knicks awareness and loyalty. New York loves the Knicks, as Kevin James said so well in the movie Hitch, “when they’re good.” But could a Nets title run end that love affair? It’s certainly going to be worth watching, but it may require a trip all the way to the Finals to even make a dent.
Read more: NY Daily News (Bondy)