Nets face crucial game against Cavaliers to avoid elimination game

For the Nets, a lot will come down to that.

Thursday is game 81 of the season for the 42-38 team, and probably the most important they will play. If they can beat the Cavaliers, who are directly ahead of them in the standings, the Nets will move into the 7th seed in a tiebreaker, with the head-to-head record higher than Cleveland. That means the game play — barring results in Game 82 — will be at home in Brooklyn, with the Nets getting another bite in the apple if they lose.

Lose to Cleveland, however, and the 7th seed is out of reach. It’s also possible that Brooklyn will come back in the game 9-10 — the Nets are currently tied with Atlanta on record — giving them no room for error in the tournament.

It’s easy to assume that once the playoffs begin, the Nets could become the force they’ve failed to be all season, with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant both available, even if Ben Simmons won’t. may not be. But for that to happen, they have to, you know, make it happen.

“We’ve been through so many things this year that emotionally and physically drained the team,” coach Steve Nash told reporters after Wednesday’s win over the Knicks. “And then now we need our best effort, and I think sometimes it’s a difficult mix of emotions and physical and mental exhaustion that we have to overcome here for a little while. Nights like this can help us refresh and feel that belief again.

Kyrie Irving can still only play in road games, in cities like Cleveland.

Nights like Wednesday, when the Nets fell 17 in the first half before outscoring the Knicks 29 in the second half to win 110-98, help remind you of what they can be and why they don’t. failed to achieve this consistently.

“I hate being down,” Kevin Durant said. “I even hate being on this team. Get down and fight. Like, I don’t even like that shit. I don’t want that to be part of who we are.

He was talking about the game. He might as well have been talking about the season.

The Nets, by any objective measure of their talent, shouldn’t be in that position until the second-to-last game of the season. They shouldn’t be worried about their first-half effort either. But it’s hard to argue with Patty Mills’ assessment.

“I think the satisfying part is knowing that we have this fight in us and we have what we have in the locker room, and we all believe and understand that we have what we need to get the job done every night.” , Mills mentioned. “Besides knowing that we can be the last team standing.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving may be spending much of next week at home in Brooklyn if they can secure the No. 7 seed in the East by the end of this weekend. Getty Images
Getty Images

“The other side of the fence is knowing that we need to have 48 consistent game minutes to be that team. And we know that’s in us.

Much of that will come down to Irving and Durant. On Wednesday night, Irving spoke about the “little chats” the two had throughout the game and how it helped the Nets come out of their deficit. They know the rest of the team is counting on them. They know the Nets will go where they take them.

“I really lean into him and he knows I’m just a killer by his side,” Irving said. “So he can be hard on me. And he can say almost anything he wants in the heat of the moment. But we just know that we can demand excellence from each other, and we just want that energy to flow through to the rest of the group.

For much of the season, that excellence hasn’t been there.

The home pitch in the play-in doesn’t work as adequate consolation for that. But that might be the first step to finding it.

New York Post

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