The NBA Playoffs are looming and as the Brooklyn Nets are counting down the remaining (seven) games on their regular season schedule, it’s becoming more apparent than ever that the team will need to compete in the Play-In Tournament to earn their postseason spot.
The Nets (39-36) are sitting in the eighth seed with only seven left. While five of their last seven games will be played at Barclays Center, Brooklyn has struggled at home. The team enters Tuesday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons posting a 16-20 record on their home floor.
If the Play-In Tournament — which runs from April 12 to April 15 — were to start today, the Nets would be slated to play the seventh-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers; a team that holds a commanding three-game lead over the Nets. If Brooklyn were to win that game, the Nets would face the second-seeded Philadelphia 76ers in the first round. If the Nets were to lose that game against the Cavaliers, the team would face a win-or-go-home game against the winner of the ninth-seeded Charlotte Hornets or the 10th-seeded Atlanta Hawks with the victorious team slated to face the top-seeded Miami Heat in the first round.
There is no question the Eastern Conference seeding will flip-flop in the closing days of the regular season. In Brooklyn’s case, Charlotte trails by only a half game. Not much further down the list, Atlanta is only one game in the rearview mirror. The silver lining for the Nets is that they are far from likely to fall out of Play-In Tournament contention. The New York Knicks, who are 34-42 on the year, sit in the 11th seed and trail the Hawks by 4.5 games. The Nets magic number — their wins and Knick losses — is two.
The Nets' opponents (in order) for the final seven games — Pistons, Bucks, Hawks, Rockets, Knicks, Cavaliers, and the Pacers to close things out on April 10, a week from Sunday. Out of the seven opponents, Brooklyn plays only two games on the road, in Atlanta and Madison Square Garden.