Brooklyn Nets NBA Restart: Schedule Breakdown
Head-to-head matchups with Orlando and Washington could shape Brooklyn's playoff fate
The Brooklyn Nets tip off the resumption of the NBA season on Friday, with eight games before the playoffs begin on August 18. The Nets are in seventh place with a 30-34 record, a half-game ahead of ninth-place Orlando (30-35). The ninth-place Washington Wizards (24-40) are also included in the NBA restart.
Brooklyn can clinch a playoff spot by holding on to the seventh spot, or finishing at least five games ahead of the ninth-place finisher if it falls to eighth place. If there is a margin of four games or less between the eighth- and ninth-place teams, there will be a play-in series.
With two games against the Magic and one against the Wizards, the Nets have a significant opportunity to seal their playoff status through head-to-head matchups in these seeding games. Here’s a quick look at the full schedule:
July 31, 2:30 PM
The schedule starts off with a key matchup, an opportunity to make an impact on securing the seventh seed. The Nets have dropped their first two games against the Magic this season, 101-89 on Jan. 6 and 115-113 on Feb. 24. Orlando had won eight of its last 12 games before the season was suspended in March to close within a half-game of Brooklyn in the standings. The Magic are in solid shape for the return to play when it comes to personnel, led by scoring and rebounding leader Nikola Vucevic (19.5 points per game, 11.0 rebounds per game). Evan Fournier (18.8 ppg, 40.6 3PT%), Terrence Ross (14.8 ppg), Aaron Gordon (14.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 3.7 apg), and Markelle Fultz (12.1 ppg, 5.2 apg) are all in.
August 2, 2:00 PM
With just nine teams from the Eastern Conference invited to the NBA restart, the Wizards are the only obstacle to the Nets clinching a playoff spot. Currently Washington is six games behind Brooklyn and would have to cut that margin to four games to force a playoff for the eighth seed. A Brooklyn win here would make a big impact. As it is, the Wizards will be without Bradley Beal, who’s averaging 30.5 points, 6.1 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game, and No. 2 scorer Davis Bertans, who’s averaging 15.4 points and shooting 42.4 percent from 3-point range. Washington’s top available scorer is rookie Rui Hachimura (13.4 ppg).
August 4, 1:30 PM
The Bucks were rampaging towards the top seed in the Eastern Conference when the season stopped, with Giannis Antetokounmpo on a path for a likely repeat as Most Valuable Player. Milwaukee (53-12) is first in the NBA in defensive rating (101.5), first in points scored per game (118.6), and tied for second in field goal percentage (47.7), as well as No. 1 in net rating (10.7). As for Antetokounmpo, he’s third in points per game (29.6) and third in rebounds per game (13.7), while also averaging 5.8 assists per game and shooting 54.7 percent.
August 5, 9:00 PM
It’s the only back-to-back for Brooklyn in the eight-game slate, and it’s a tough one. The Celtics (43-21) are third in the Eastern Conference, three games behind Toronto, so there’s a chance the Nets could see them in the first round of the playoffs. They’ve won two of three against Boston this season, with the last game featuring Caris LeVert’s 51-point night and a comeback overtime win a week before the season was halted. The Celtics are fourth in the NBA in defensive rating (106.2), fifth in offensive rating (112.3), and fifth in net rating (6.1). Guard Kemba Walker was having knee troubles before the hiatus, and the Celtics have been taking it slow with him as practice resumed in Orlando. While Walker is second in scoring with 21.2 points per game, he leads Boston with 4.9 assists per game. Jayson Tatum is averaging 23.6 points for the Celtics.
August 7, 5:00 PM
The Nets last saw the Kings pretty early in the season, a 116-97 win at Barclays Center on Nov. 22. An eight-game losing streak through New Year’s Eve was Sacramento’s low point, dropping the Kings to 13-22 to start 2020. They’re a game over .500 since then — 15-14 — to get to 28-36, good enough to get them into the mix for the restart with 13 Western Conference teams included. They’re 3.5 games behind eighth-place Memphis (32-33).
August 9, 9:00 PM
The Nets were just a few days away from facing the Clippers when the season was suspended in March. They had just edged the Lakers at Staples Center and were on the way to face Golden State in San Francisco. A return trip to LA was supposed to be next. Instead, they returned to Brooklyn and the NBA’s uncertain next step. The Clippers (44-20) are in second place in the Western Conference behind the Lakers, ranking second in the league in net rating (10.7), third in offensive rating (112.9), and fifth in defensive rating (106.6).
August 11, 1:00 PM
Brooklyn’s season could end up hinging on this head-to-head matchup in the next-to-last game. Can the Nets hold off the Magic and avoid the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the first round? Or will they be fighting to avoid a play-in series against ninth-place Washington?
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
August 13, TBD
A pair of playoff fates could hang in the balance in this final game. The Blazers (29-37) are part of the crowd battling for the final seed in the West. They’ll begin play 3.5 games behind eighth-place Memphis, the same as New Orleans and Sacramento. Damian Lillard is fifth in the NBA in scoring with 28.9 points per game, and fourth in total 3-pointers made, shooting 39.4 percent, and averaging 7.8 assists.
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