Nets-Bobcats: Open Thread

7:30 P.M. on YES.
7:30 P.M. on YES.

Who: The Brooklyn Nets (34-31) take on the Charlotte Bobcats (33-35) tonight, in a battle crucial for playoff positioning.

Starting Lineup: Deron Williams, Shaun Livingston, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Mason Plumlee.

Injury report: Andrei Kirilenko (left big toe) will play. He was originally listed as a game-time decision after missing Tuesday’s practice. Kevin Garnett (back) is out until Saturday, when he will be re-evaluated by the team.

Why it’s important: With 17 games remaining, the Nets are currently the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race, two games behind the Chicago Bulls for fourth, a percentage point ahead of the Washington Wizards for fifth, and 2.5 games ahead of the seventh-seeded Bobcats.

If the Nets win, they’ll increase their lead over the Wizards and Bobcats to 0.5 and 3.5 games, respectively, further separating them from a potential matchup with the Miami Heat in the first round. They’d also guarantee the tiebreaker over the Bobcats, making the lead effectively a 4.5 game lead with under a month to play.

If the Bobcats win, the Nets will fall to sixth seed by 0.5 games, and sit just 1.5 games ahead of the Bobcats without guaranteeing they’d have a tiebreaker.

When & Where: 7:30 P.M., Barclays Center, Brooklyn
Watch: YES Network
Listen: CBS WFAN 660 AM, 101.9 FM