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Nets spoil Wade’s finale and enter playoffs with a three-game win streak, 113-94

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NBA: Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The Nets clinched a playoff berth on Sunday, but they were playing for seeding on Wednesday — the difference between playing the 76ers or the Raptors — all in the midst of Dwyane Wade’s final game.

With the crowd Miami-heavy, the Nets annihilated the Heat and Wade in the final game of the regular season, 113-94, at Barclays Center. The Nets finished the season with a 42-40 record — the first time they’ve finished above .500 since the 2013-14 season. They also finished the season with a 34-22 record since starting the season 8-18.

“I’m really excited. My first time as a head coach — staff’s excited. I haven’t counted the amount of players we have that don’t have playoff experience,” said Kenny Atkinson.

And so, it’ll be a Nets-76ers first-round match-up. The Nets fared well against the 76ers this season, finishing with a 2-2 record versus Philly. One of the losses was a Jimmy Butler game-winning three.

“Yes, [We’re] confident. I think we played them tough. We give ourselves a chance at the end of the game every time against them and we beat them as well, too, so we just have to go into the playoffs as prepared as we can and let the results end up where they are,” said D’Angelo Russell after the game.

“I think it’s great that it’s Brooklyn vs. Philadelphia. Right down the turnpike. Exciting matchup,” added Atkinson.

This game was never really in question. With the Heat eliminated and it being Wade’s final game, they were focused on getting him his share of touches. The Nets were completely fine with this, as Wade finished just 10-of-28 from the field. He did, however, finish with a triple-double capped off with an assist to Udonis Haslem, who was also playing his final game.

Fitting.

The Nets went up 32-23 after the first, then went on a 16-3 run to start the second half. It was a 16-point lead at half. Following a barrage of three-pointers, four by DLo, the Nets took a 29-point lead with 6:11 left in the third.

Miami fought as Atkinson inserted some of his G League players, which cut the deficit to 13. By then, it was too late.

The Nets were led by Russell, who finished with 21 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. After DLo was Shabazz Napier who came off the bench with 20 points. The bench scored 55 points and the Nets out-rebounded the Heat by 14.

Brooklyn shot just 38 percent from the field, but assisted on 29 of 43 made field goals.

And that’ll be it for the regular season, folks. The Brooklyn Nets exceeded all expectations the entire season, and even in the final 10 games where they finished 6-4 through an absolutely brutal schedule.

Onto the playoffs we go, where Philly awaits.

Trust the Process or Trust the Progress.

Post-game audio here.

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FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT

The Brooklyn Nets have made a tradition of making the final regular season game “Fan Appreciation Night” — a tradition they’ve done in order to connect better with the community.

As part of the initiative, the Nets gave Coach Carlton Screen a brand new Honda. Coach Screen has been an influential figure for Brooklyn’s youth and takes his basketball players to and from games in his own car, paying for gas and other ancillary costs out of his own pocket. The number of players varies by game/tournament, but he frequently makes multiple trips to transport all participants to their individual events.

To thank Coach Screen for his contributions to his community, the Brooklyn Nets and Honda surprised him with a brand new 2019 Honda Passport during halftime at tonight’s game at Barclays Center.

ONE LAST DANCE

Wednesday night’s game was Dwyane Wade’s final game as an NBA player. Wade had his fair share of moments against the Nets, specifically against them in the Eastern Conference Semifinals back in 2006. Wade intercepted Jason Kidd’s inbounds pass toward a stumbling Vince Carter and hoisted the ball to the other end of the court as time expired. The Heat won the game and the series.

But hey, we aren’t dwelling about that now. You have to respect greatness when you see it. He had company at Barclays.

“I remember the Christmas games. Every time they would play on Christmas, he would do something exciting, you’d be tuned in the whole game,” Russell said.

“[He] Changed the game as a 2-guard...I think it’s cool that we get to see him on this last game,” added Atkinson.

Congratulations to Wade on a successful career.

“PASSING THE TORCH”

SIXERS OR RAPTORS

The match-up you desire is really up for debate, but the advanced stats show that the Nets have played much better against the 76ers than the Raptors.

As John Schuhmann pointed out Monday...

They’ll either be the No. 6 or 7 seed and the No. 6 seed might be preferable given that they’ve scored 117.2 points per 100 possessions, the most among all Eastern Conference teams, against the Sixers.

And Brian Lewis noted that and another stat Tuesday morning...

The Nets’ guards have given Philadelphia fits, penetrating at will. Brooklyn’s Offensive Rating (115.4), shooting percentage (.499) and True Shooting (59.7 percent) against the Sixers are all their fourth-best against any opponent.

Plus, the Nets are 2-2 against the Sixers this year as previously mentioned. The Nets are 1-3 against the Raptors — the one win being the one that essentially saved the season.

Then there’s this...

IAN AND SHEARN

When Ian Eagle talks Nets (especially the trajectory of the team)... you listen.

One highlight: Eagle admits that of all the 25 Nets teams he’s covered, this one and the first Jason Kidd team in 2001—02 are his favorites.

G LEAGUE REUNION

Three members of the Long Island Nets were on the court together in the fourth quarter. Theo Pinson, Dzanan Musa and Alan Williams acquitted themselves well, with Musa and Williams dropping seven points to put an end to the Heat’s final rally.

The three will all be in action Friday night in the G League Finals when Long Island hosts the Rio Grande Valley Vipers at Stony Brook University’s Island Federal Arena. It’s one game for the title and it wasn’t a bad thing to have the three getting big minutes at the end of a big game at the NBA level. Of the three, Musa and Pinson, as members of the Nets core 15-man roster, are eligible to play in the post-season. Williams, as a two-way player, is not.

DINWIDDIE KICKS

IMMATURE? LOOK IN THE MIRROR

I said what I needed to say on this, but just to add something real quick: Quitting without telling your boss is pretty immature.

So, what does DLo think about Tuesday’s nights events in L.A.?

“I’m not really worried about anyone over there... I’m trying to look past that and build my legacy over here,” said Russell.

Good day.

***

Next up: THE PLAYOFFS!!!!

For a different perspective — and various retrospectives on DWade, head on over to Hot Hot Hoops, our Heat sister site on SB Nation.