Nets vs. Cavaliers: No. 2 Seed On The Line In Finale

With the Milwaukee Bucks winning against the Miami Heat on Saturday night, the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed is still up for grabs with the Brooklyn Nets headed into their final regular season game of the season Sunday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7 p.m. at Barclays Center.

The Nets are 47-24 with a one-game lead over the Bucks (46-25). If the teams finish tied, Milwaukee will take the higher seed due to its win in the season series. So the Nets either need to win or have the Bucks lose to Chicago, with that game scheduled to tip off two hours later at 9 p.m.

While Nets head coach Steve Nash was non-committal both before and after Saturday’s win over Chicago as to whether players such as James Harden, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin would play Sunday in the second half of a back-to-back set, all three were absent from the status report issued by the team Sunday afternoon. However, Harden was later declared out due to injury management in an update about an hour before gametime. Harden had played Brooklyn's last two games after returning from a hamstring strain.

"We just have one game to win, and we control our own destiny as far as the seedings go," said Nash. "We think that’s positive. If we can win that game, it’s much better being the second seed. It’s a little advantage we can create, and it just comes down to concentration and trying to close this deal tomorrow. Yeah, we definitely want it."


While the Nets were happy just to get Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden some minutes together on Saturday for the first time since Feb. 13, they continued to get deep contributions to drive their 115-109 win over the Chicago Bulls.

In wins earlier this week over Chicago and San Antonio, the Nets had eight players score in double figures in both games. In a return game against the Bulls, that depth shone through again.

Jeff Green had 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting, including 5-of-6 3-pointers. Green made three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, including a pair in the decisive 15-2 run after Chicago had cut Brooklyn’s lead to 85-81.

Bruce Brown had his third straight double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. Consecutive rebound baskets in the final minutes of the first half helped push the Nets to a 10-point halftime lead after they had trailed by 12 early on.

In addition, Nic Claxton had 10 points and eight rebounds — making all four of his shots. It was Claxton’s third consecutive double-figure scoring game, during which he’s made 16-of-19 shots.


After missing his first game of the season on Wednesday due to hip soreness, Joe Harris will be out for both of Brooklyn’s season-concluding weekend games with a gluteal strain.

“He had imaging and a slight strain, so he's gonna be out this weekend,” said Steve Nash before Saturday afternoon’s game against Chicago. “But we expect he'll make a full recovery for the playoffs.”


Cleveland is 22-49 and in 13th place in the Eastern Conference. The Nets and Cavaliers split the previous two meetings, a late January series in Chicago. Cleveland ranks 25th in field goal percentage (45.0), 28th in effective field goal percentage (50.8) and 28th in offensive rating. The Cavaliers are 28th in 3-pointers attempted per game (29.6) and 30th in 3-pointers made per game (10.0) and 3-point percentage (33.7). Cleveland is 29th in turnovers per game (15.5) and 27th in opponent points off turnovers (17.7). Despite ranking ninth in offensive rebounds per game (10.4) and seventh in offensive rebounding percentage (28.0), the Cavaliers are 18th in second chance points (12.9). Similarly, despite ranking 28th in defensive rebounds per game (32.3) and 23rd in defensive rebounding percentage per game (72.7), the Cavaliers are eighth in opponent second chance points (12.2). Collin Sexton leads Cleveland with 24.5 points per game. Former Net Jarrett Allen has averaged 13.3 points on 61.5 percent shooting with 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game in 50 games for Cleveland.