Nets Clinch No. 2 Seed With Win Over Cavs, Await Playoff Opponent

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Final: 05/16/2021

W 123 109

Regular season: Complete. 

The Nets will enter the playoffs in the No. 2 seed after defeating the Cavaliers 123-109 in the final game of the regular season on Sunday. Brooklyn finishes with a 48-24 record, a franchise-record 66.7% winning percentage for a single season.

Brooklyn’s control of Sunday’s game did not waver as the team built a 17-point lead in the first quarter and grew it to as large as 25. Oh, and did we mention they put up the highlight of the year?

Outside playoff implications, the big news of the night was Kyrie Irving becoming the ninth-ever player to join the 50-40-90 club after shooting 3-of-3 from three on the night. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant was nearly perfect from the field with a double-double and James Harden sat out due to injury management, but he seemed to enjoy what looked like a delicious smoothie on the sideline.

Quite a night. Now the postseason grind starts.

The No. 2-seeded Nets will face the winner of the play-in game between No. 7 Celtics and No. 8 Wizards. The Nets went 3-0 against Boston and 1-2 against Washington in the regular season. 

Brooklyn used a 22-6 run in the third quarter while capitalizing on turnovers to truly pull away in this one while the starters were largely able to rest in the fourth quarter. Seven Nets scored in double digits as the team shot 56.6% from the field and 16-of-30 from three.

Collin Sexton was ejected from the game in the third quarter after elbowing Durant in the face while Dean Wade and Isaac Okoro led the way for Cleveland with 18 points apiece.

A landmark regular season has ended, and now the Nets wait to find out their next opponent. Scary Hours incoming. 

Kevin Durant

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The stats: 23 PTS, 8-10 FG, 1-2 3PT, 6-6 FT, 8 REB, 13 AST, 2 TO, 29 MIN

KD is entering playoff mode.

KD put his Saturday performance behind him and showed out against the Cavs, nearly putting up a perfect performance from the field. He needed just three quarters to put up a near triple-double while completing the highlight of the year.

KD’s playmaking was truly on display as he quickly racked up the assists. He looked comfortable and seems to have his groove back for the playoffs.

Kyrie Irving

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The stats: 17 PTS, 7-11 FG, 3-3 3PT, 6 REB, 2 AST, 3 STL, 3 BLK, 1 TO, 29 MIN

Bravo, Kyrie.

Kyrie joined Steve Nash and Kevin Durant in the 50-40-90 club with his historic regular season. It is also just the fifth time a player averaged at least 25 points with those benchmarks.

To add to it, Kyrie had another strong game defensively and helped spark a few fastbreak plays. A standout season for Kyrie with more to come.

Mike James

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The stats: 14 PTS, 6-16 FG, 2-6 3PT, 0-1 FT, 4 REB, 8 AST, 2 STL, 2 TO, 28 MIN

The Mike James effect is real.

Mike had a scoring burst in the second quarter and tallied 12 points at halftime. He cooled down a bit after but managed to keep up the production with eight assists.

It’ll be interesting to see how Mike is worked into the rotation in the postseason, but he will be there on the bench if the Nets ever need him. Kudos to getting the deflection leading to the big play, too. 

Jeff Green

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The stats: 13 PTS, 4-6 FG, 3-4 3PT, 2-2 FT, 2 REB, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 22 MIN

Jeff Green has been feeling it from three.

He continues to be automatic from distance after Saturday’s hot performance. He has fit well coming off the bench as of late while having good run time and chemistry with the starters. 

Uncle Jeff can arguably be one of the Nets’ most pivotal players in the playoffs. And if Joe Harris needs to miss time (Steve Nash says he should be back to practice in a few days), Jeff’s threat from distance becomes that more valuable. 

Bruce Brown

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The stats: 12 PTS, 4-5 FG, 4-6 FT, 4 REB, 4 AST, 2 STL, 2 BLK, 1 TO, 26 MIN

Bruce did a bit of everything against the Cavs.

His double-double streak ended, but he came up even bigger on the defensive end. On top of the steals and blocks, Bruce continued to give his consistent double-digit scoring performance as of late.

Like Ian Eagle said on YES, Bruce is finally showing his impact in numbers beyond the intangibles. It could not be coming at a better time.

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