NEW YORK -- Since completing a four-game sweep of the two-time defending champion Miami Heat exactly a week ago, the Brooklyn Nets have looked like a team that could not care less about the rest of the regular season.
But despite losing three of their past four games -- all to sub-.500 opponents -- Nets coach Jason Kidd claims he isn’t concerned.
“Not at all. No. Why would I be concerned?” a peeved Kidd said after the Nets were beaten handily by the New York Knicks, 109-98, on Tuesday night at Barclays Center. “It happens. [You play] 82 [games]. Sometimes you play well. Sometimes you don’t. We’ll get better tomorrow.”
As far as their playoff seeding is concerned, Kidd said, “Fifth, sixth, same thing. We’re going to play Toronto or Chicago.”
The Nets (44-37) could’ve locked up the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a win. But despite playing four starters, they looked sloppy and disinterested from the opening tipoff. They allowed the Knicks to shoot 52.4 percent from 3-point range and turned the ball over 20 times.
As Kidd said, at least no one got hurt, and that has been the veteran team’s No. 1 goal since it locked up a spot in the postseason.
Here’s the deal on Wednesday night:
• If the Nets win in Cleveland, they get the fifth seed. If they lose and the Washington Wizards win in Boston, they get the sixth seed, because Washington (43-38) holds the tiebreaker by virtue of going 3-0 against Brooklyn in the regular season.
• If both the Nets and Wizards lose, the Nets get the No. 5 seed.
• If both the Raptors and Bulls loses, the Raptors get the No. 3 seed.
• The Raptors (48-33) hold the tiebreaker over the Bulls (48-33) for the third seed by virtue of winning the Atlantic Division title. Toronto plays in New York, and Chicago plays in Charlotte.
Kidd wasn’t sure who was going to Cleveland, but Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson both sounded as though they were going to travel with the team. Given that it’s a back-to-back, it’s highly doubtful Kevin Garnett makes the trip.
“Going into the playoffs you want to start building good habits, and tonight was an example of how not to take a step forward,” Pierce said. “We were off our game offensively, and that’s not how you want to go into the playoffs. No excuses about it. We have to be better.”
Pierce is certainly looking forward to the playoffs.
“It’s that time of year when you get the chills,” he said. “It’s that sort of time when the weather is getting warmer. It’s an exciting time of year. Everybody loves being in the playoffs.”
Are Brooklyn’s recent struggles something to be the Nets should be concerned about? Only time will tell.
“We should have that sense of urgency now,” Pierce said. “You can’t just turn it on once the playoffs start. It’s not like you can just go in and be world beaters.”