Instead, they dropped their second straight dud, a 113-86 loss to Chicago. Now, the Indiana Pacers control their own destiny. By simply winning their last two games, the Pacers can lock up the eighth seed and a first round matchup with the Atlanta Hawks.
It's that simple now. If Indiana beats both the Wizards (at home) and the Grizzlies (away), the Pacers are in the playoffs. If the Pacers lose one of those games, and the Nets beat the Magic on Wednesday in Brooklyn, the Nets are in. If Indiana loses both, no matter if the Nets win or lose, the Nets are in. It's all about the tiebreaker the Nets own with the Pacers.
The Wizards could rest their starters Tuesday night against the Pacers, but John Wall prefers to play, remembering how Indiana knocked them off in the Eastern Conference semi-finals last year.
“Oh definitely. We know we have a rivalry with them,” Wall said. “”We feel like we owe them from last year and they’re a team that’s fighting and we want to show that we can beat them.”
Of course, it won't be up to Wall. That's a coach's decision. It would make sense to rest the starters, considering that the Wizards are locked into the fifth seed and have nothing to play for in this game.
For the Grizzlies, they are likely going to have something to play for on Wednesday. They are in a heated battle for playoff position in the West. They can land anywhere between the second and sixth seed in the West.. However, the Grizz are struggling at 4-6 in their last ten and now sitting in the sixth.
Brooklyn's opponent, the Magic, are out of the playoffs but a tough out with the hard play from Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo. If this team is going to revert back to their early season play, the Nets will struggle. Which team will show up? Let's hope it's the one that played over the past month up until Sunday.
To make matters worse if the Pacers beat the Wizards Tuesday and the Nets beat the Magic on Wednesday, the Nets and their fans will have to wait to see what happens with the Pacers and Grizzlies. The Nets - Magic game starts at 8:00 p.m., the Pacers-Grizzles doesn't start until 9:30.
Despite all that, ESPN thinks the Nets have the best chance of the three remaining (mathematical) contenders for the eighth spot.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>ESPN BPI playoff odds still like <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Nets?src=hash">#Nets</a>: 62.9 percent for them, 29.5 percent from Indiana, 7.6 percent for Miami.</p>— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) <a href="https://twitter.com/MazzESPN/status/587973956872892416">April 14, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
For tonight, let's root for the Wizards.