Did you ever think at the start of this season that Nets fans would be excited about the prospect of having a good shot at making the playoffs?
However, that’s exactly what’s happening heading into Sunday’s final regular season game against Indiana. If the Nets beat the Pacers at Barclays Center — and given the stakes and the fact that the Pacers have the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference, it’s hard to imagine they won’t — they’ll clinch the coveted spot. of No. 7 in the play-in tournament.
That would give them two chances to register the only play-in win they need to qualify for the playoffs.
The first chance will come on Tuesday and, while nothing is set in stone as the Hawks, Hornets, Cavaliers and Nets are only separated by one game, it will likely be against Cleveland, the team the Nets beat, 118- 107, Friday evening. . If they win on Tuesday, they’ll claim the No. 7 seed, which means they’ll open the playoffs next weekend in Milwaukee (most likely) or Boston.
If the Nets beat Indiana but lose Tuesday’s playoff, they’ll face the winner of the 9-10 playoff — which will most likely be between the Hawks and Hornets — on Friday.
There are so many scenarios right now that coach Steve Nash finds it best not to think about them too much.
“I think we’re so focused on trying to get better in a short time and getting better every day that we’re not in a position to start worrying about who, what, when,” Nash said after the win over Cleveland. “We just have to try to win Sunday’s game and Tuesday’s play-offs.”
There’s been a lot of talk about the Nets being the low seed the high seeds want to play in the playoffs the least. Kevin Durant doesn’t buy into that or the idea of teams scrambling to try and avoid them.
“I don’t believe teams do that,” he said. “I think a lot of teams are just trying to make sure their guys are healthy heading into the playoffs. I don’t think they even care about us, to be honest, so we just focus on what we’re doing. And no matter what happens, we just play our game.”
Notes and quotes: Durant is averaging 30.55 points per game and needs 27 in the season finale to average 30 for the season. It would make him the first Nets player to reach that milestone. It would also make him the league’s second leading scorer behind Joel Embiid of the 76ers, who is averaging 30.4 in 67 games. Durant, however, will narrowly miss playing the minimum number of games to qualify for the goalscoring title race, as injuries have caused him to miss some games.