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Nets rest ‘BrookLin’ and finish the season with a 112-73 loss in Chicago

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Chicago Bulls Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Sorry Heat fans.

In the final game of the season, the Nets decided to rest Brook Lopez, Jeremy Lin and Trevor Booker, while Quincy Acy, Sean Kilpatrick and Joe Harris sat out due to injury.

Needless to say, the Nets had different intentions in mind, such as evaluating players for next season.

In game 82, the Nets lost to the Bulls, 112-73, Wednesday night in Chicago and failed to kill Chicago’s chance at the postseason. If the Bulls lost and the Heat won, Miami would’ve made the playoffs as the eight seed.

Meanwhile…

The Nets finished the season with a 20-62 record, which is the second-worst season since 2000. They’ve won a total of 41 games the last two seasons – their worst two in franchise history.

However, fans and others remain positive about the franchises direction.

The Nets finished with an 11-13 record since March 1. That’s a badge of honor for head coach Kenny Atkinson who had his guys working hard every day despite the tough hand he was dealt.

“We made a little progress, stuck our finger through the ceiling so to speak, yet we have a long way to go. We have a lot of work to do,’’ Atkinson said.

“I don’t think when you win 20 games you can say [you’re happy]. I’d be lying if I said that. … We understand how far we have to go. We understand the hole we’re in.”

As for the game…

This was about as ugly as you’d expect it to be. The Bulls turned an 11-10 deficit into a 27-13 lead entering the second quarter. It only got uglier as the Bulls led by 18 at half and 19 entering the fourth. The Nets only had 56 points at that point and they really didn’t play terrible after the first quarter, but it simply was not happening.

The Nets shot 32.3 percent overall and 3-of-33 from deep. That’s nine percent.

Archie Goodwin led the Nets and scored a season-high 20 points and seven rebounds – his highest since scoring 24 for the Phoenix Suns in 2016. K.J. McDaniels chipped in 15 and Caris LeVert with 10.

Chicago was led by Jimmy Butler’s 25 points.

This season wasn’t a success, but there’s reason to have hope for the future. There is a plan and the Nets have an identity. It won’t happened overnight, but it will happen. There’s only one way to go up from here, we hope…

RESTING THE NIGHT AWAY

Atkinson addressed the controversy about resting the three Nets who averaged double figures for such a crucial game.

“I’m going to be honest with you,’’ Atkinson said. “As a competitor, I understand it. Like I understand the point of view that some of you have and that the press has, maybe other teams in this league. I do understand it, but we have to look at it from the Brooklyn Nets’ franchise perspective and what’s best for us, and that’s how we’re looking at it in a vacuum. I think that’s my responsibility as a coach, to look at it in that vein. But, that being said, I do understand it.’’

Simply put, the Nets didn’t want to risk injury to their two top players in what was for the Nets a meaningless game.

“We’re looking out for the best for the Nets,” Atkinson added. “We want to go into this offseason healthy. It’s a huge offseason for us . . . When Sean and I talked, [it was] what’s best for the Nets, what’s best for our franchise. We just took it in that vein and tried to leave the other stuff out.”

FAREWELL, IRINA

Prior to the game, news broke that President of ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment, Irina Pavlova, is leaving the organization after seven years. At NetsDaily, we’d like to wish her all the best in her future endeavors and thank her for bringing kindness and professionalism to the Nets organization.

She will be missed around Brooklyn.

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Next up: the offseason!

Shout out to all the wonderful folks at YES Network for the great tidbits and for making every game entertaining despite the circumstances.

And of course...

To all of our members in the NetsDaily community, we thank you for another fun and interesting season. #TrustTheProgress