Nothing good happened to them on Sunday, but the Brooklyn Nets still control their own destiny with two games remaining in the regular season.
Win those two games and the Nets (37-43), who are now tied with the Indiana Pacers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, would make the playoffs because they hold the tiebreaker. Brooklyn’s magic number is officially two.
The Nets face the Chicago Bulls (48-32) on Monday night at Barclays Center, then get the Orlando Magic (25-55) at home two nights later.
Indiana closes out the 2014-15 campaign with a home-road back-to-back against the Washington Wizards (46-34) and Memphis Grizzlies (54-26) on Tuesday and Wednesday night. The Pacers have won five straight.
The Miami Heat (35-45) could overtake both the Nets and the Pacers, but they would have to win out, and Brooklyn and Indiana would have to lose out. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Heat would own the tiebreaker should all three teams finish with the same record.
The Boston Celtics (38-42) have all but locked themselves into the No. 7 seed and a first-round series against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Boston’s magic number to clinch that spot is one because the Celtics own the tiebreaker over both the Nets and Pacers. The Celtics have the Toronto Raptors (48-32) at home Tuesday night, then play the Milwaukee Bucks (40-40) on the road Wednesday night.
All of that means the Nets or Bucks will probably be facing the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks (60-20) in the 1-8 matchup.
Given that some of these teams have wrapped up playoff spots, it’s unknown whether their coaches will decide to rest starters and key players. But you can bet all of these teams will be scoreboard watching and paying close attention to what’s going on.
The Nets won’t have to worry about what any other team is doing, however, if they just take care of business themselves.
The Bulls can lock up home-court advantage in Round 1 with a victory, so they certainly have something to play for. Chicago has been inconsistent, so who knows what to expect from the Bulls, although you can say the exact same thing about Brooklyn.
The Nets are capable of beating any team on any given night. But they’re also capable of losing to any team on any given night.
Brooklyn should be extremely motivated following their 23-point loss to former coach Jason Kidd’s Bucks. But with this team, you just never know.