Clinched! Brooklyn makes playoffs with win over Indiana


Final: 04/07/2019

W 108 96

In a change of pace, the Nets played in a meaningful game at the end of the regular season — and came out on the right side of it. 

For the first time in four years, the Brooklyn Nets are in the playoffs. 

A day after upsetting the Bucks, Brooklyn defeated the Pacers on Sunday and secured at least the 7 seed in the Eastern Conference with the win. After the Orlando Magic beat the Boston Celtics Sunday night, the Nets were held back from rising to the 6 seed just yet. 

Yes — the Nets will play a regular season game with a playoff spot clinched. No, Caris LeVert’s injury was not the end to a promising season. 

For a high-spirited and motivated squad led by strong play and belief, the postseason is now reality. 

To clinch the playoffs, the Heat first lost in overtime to the Raptors earlier on Sunday to help Brooklyn’s chances. The Nets then played consistently and comfortably against an Indiana Pacers team that will likely stay in the five seed despite losing Victor Oladipo to injury this season.

Brooklyn built an early lead behind trail set ablaze by Joe Harris. 

With Harris clicking from three, his teammates have a habit of falling in line. D’Angelo Russell put in a strong performance after leading the Nets against the Bucks on Saturday, this time leading the team with 20 points, six assists and six rebounds. 

Right behind Russell in both games was Caris LeVert, who’s looking as best he’s played since returning from injury. He’s agile, active, snatching steals and finishing plays. There’s no better time for LeVert to peak, and he’s proving a big lift off the bench for Brooklyn.

Indiana provided a challenge at times, including a 7-0 run in the fourth quarter to cut the Nets’ lead to 10. But Brooklyn quickly responded with a pretty and-one from Russell. The Nets’ 52-33 rebounding advantage, including 17-5 offensive, was key to the team holding its ground. 

This is Brooklyn’s first win over Indiana since the Nets last made the playoffs — 2015! 

Brooklyn has also clinched a .500 record for the first time since the 2013-14 season. 

What a turnaround — after losing two straight games, Brooklyn won two back-to-back on the road and have clinched at least the seventh seed. It is a triumphant accomplishment in a season that showed the Brooklyn Nets are, in fact, a playoff team. 

In addition to the pieces of this team that have shined, Kenny Atkinson led his team from a league-worst 20-win season in 2016-17, a 28-win season last year and now at least a 41-win season and the playoffs. 

After the game, Atkinson said the team even proved him wrong with how good he thought they were going to be this season. The team willed the playoffs into existence after seeing how it bounced back this season following LeVert’s injury and lengthy losing streak. 

The roster may look completely different than it did the last time the Nets were in the playoffs in 2014-15, but it works. A change of culture, strong leadership, a growth of an All-Star and diamonds in the rough can go a long way in proving what is possible. 

Celebrate, Nets fans — the time has come! 

“Teams counted us out, people counted us out,” Russell said to Michael Grady on YES after getting water poured on his head. “Now we’re there.” 

Expectations, exceeded. Playoff games are coming to Brooklyn. 

Joe Harris


The stats: 19 PTS, 7-11 FG, 4-7 3PT, 1-2 FT, 4 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 3 TO, 30 MIN

Joe was ready to come alive in this one. He struggled a bit from the field against the Bucks but was hot from three in the first half against Indiana, always ready to shoot after a steal or a deflection or finish under the rim like this. 

Brooklyn needs Joe to play this way and to continue getting him more shots. His 18 first-half points were just what the Nets needed to get and maintain the lead against Indiana. 

He also may likely lock up the highest three-point percentage in the league this season. Not too surprising for a three-point champ. 

D'Angelo Russell


The stats: 20 PTS, 7-15 FG, 1-4 3PT, 5-5 FT, 6 REB, 6 AST, 1 BLK, 3 TO, 29 MIN

DLo ran the show, had some highlights and led his team to victory — have we heard this one before? 

Russell stepped up in Brooklyn’s back-to-back wins, putting up a double-double against the Bucks and a strong all-around game against Indiana.

What else can we say about him other than he has been the star that has been a pleasure to watch lead Brooklyn in a meaningful season. It will be fun to see what he can do in the postseason. 

Now let’s watch him get water dumped on his head by Caris.

Caris LeVert


The stats: 18 PTS, 7-16 FG, 0-3 3PT, 4-6 FT, 5 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 28 MIN

Playoff LeVert, activated. 

Caris has looked as locked in and confident as he has since his return. He is playing well off the bench and looking quick and spry. 

There’s no better time for the Nets for Caris to hit full stride than right before the playoffs. He came up big in the back-to-back wins, and can potentially stay consistent into the playoffs. 

Spencer Dinwiddie


The stats: 12 PTS, 3-8 FG, 1-6 3PT, 5-5 FT, 2 REB, 6 AST, 3 TO, 26 MIN

Dinwiddie has struggled, but he stepped up by scoring eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter when the Pacers started to threaten with a run. His three-point shooting has left room for improvement, but he still played an important finishing role for the Nets against Indiana. 

Jared Dudley


The stats: 6 PTS, 2-6 FG, 4 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 27 MIN

Jared Dudley stepped up big-time in Brooklyn’s back-to-back wins, showing experience and contributing in a little bit of everything on the court. He’s another player that can improve his three-point shooting, but Dudley knew what was at stake for Brooklyn more than anyone. 

The Nets arguably don’t win back-to-back games without him. 

Jarrett Allen


The stats: 12 PTS, 6-10 FG, 0-1 3PT, 8 REB, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 2 TO, 28 MIN

We are supporters of Jarrett Allen throwdowns. 

Keep the dunks coming, Jarrett.