Now that the Nets have clinched their first postseason berth in four years, the next step is finding out who and where they’ll play when they get there.
The Nets could hold onto sixth in the Eastern Conference and face the third-seeded 76ers, or drop no lower than seventh and play the Raptors.
“It’s either going to be Toronto or Philadelphia, and quite honestly there’s no preference. They’re both tough matchups,” Kenny Atkinson said on ESPN Radio. “With Philly you’ve got [Joel] Embiid and that [is a] matchup nightmare, and [Ben] Simmons.
“And Toronto is much improved by adding [Marc] Gasol. And you have Kawhi [Leonard] and [Kyle] Lowry and [Pascal] Siakam. They’re a tough matchup for us. We’ve got to approach it like it doesn’t matter who we play. We’ve got to rely on our mojo and our momentum, and hopefully that helps us give either of those teams a challenge.”
With the Nets 41-40 going into Wednesday’s regular-season finale against the Heat, they’re even with the Magic but hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Orlando. They would finish sixth with a win over the Heat or if Orlando drops its finale Wednesday at Charlotte.
They would be wise to want the 76ers.
Yes, the Nets turned their season around with a victory over Toronto, snapping an eight-game losing skid that had left them at 8-18 with a win. They’re 33-22 since. But they’ve dropped their other three games against Toronto.
Meanwhile, Nets have largely outplayed the 76ers, splitting their four meetings and outscoring them by an average of 121-117.8.
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.
However, the Nets’ 13-point loss in Philadelphia on March 28 was the only time the teams played after the 76ers acquired Tobias Harris.
“You have to try and go through teams that have had success, and they’ll show you how to perform, how to prepare,” GM Sean Marks said on WFAN.
“This Miami game, it’s complicated. I don’t have an answer for [how we’ll handle it],” Atkinson said. “I think we’ve got to wait until the games are played out.“It’s funny, we thought it was going to come down to the Miami game, be a win and advance or lose and or go home.”
It isn’t because they pulled off a surprising sweep of a back-to-back at Milwaukee and Indiana to not only make that moot, but let them avoid the top-seeded Bucks. They could pull off another surprise in the postseason. But if the regular season is any indication, the Nets will have better odds against Philadelphia.
76ers coach Brett Brown has said his team doesn’t match up well with the Nets.
“[They’re] dangerous,” Brown said a week ago. “Completely dangerous.They have a bunch of players who can play out of a live ball or a pick-and-roll. And where do I assess where we’re weak? Where do I need the most help? It’s pick-and-roll defense. “They have capable scorers all over the plac
e. And the abundance and frequency and efficiency of the 3-point shot they’re able to generate to get buckets quick is scary. The match up scares you. It’s not something where you feel like we matchup with these guys great. We don’t. So we’d have our hands full.”
Published at Tue, 09 Apr 2019 07:31:58 +0000