G81 Nets Attempt to Spoil Celtics’ Chance of #1 Seed
Nets truly enjoyed ruining playoff team’s chances at the end of the season and they pulled a great 107-106 comeback win with 10-0 run in the fourth quarter against the Bulls. LeVert, Rondae-Hollis Jefferson, and Spence Dinwiddie played exceptionally well to shock the Bulls.
Jeremy Lin started well but slowed down with his shooting but still contributed 12 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 3 steals in 29 min (4-14 shooting, 2-4 from three-point land). It is encouraging see younger teammates can step up to close the game when Brook Lopez (13pts/4reb/1ast) and Jeremy Lin slowed down towards the end. It is a testament to the Nets team growth to develop younger players. It will only help to make Nets more dangerous because teams can no longer plan to stop Brook-Lin.
Nets vs Celtics Matchup
Celtics had a chance to secure the #1 seed in the Eastern conference if it can win the last 2 games against the Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks and the Cavs drop at least 1 game against Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors. Will the Nets play a spoiler role to the Celtics, who will most likely get the top pick in the 2017 draft courtesy of the Nets? A win against the potential top seed of the Eastern Conference will not mean much this season but will signify that the Nets will be a contender next season and potentially attract good Free Agents to come to Brooklyn.
So, with two games left, the Celtics (51-29) are again tied for first in the conference as they head into Monday night’s home game against the Brooklyn Nets, who will supply Boston with perhaps the top pick in the 2017 draft.
Now, the tie is really not a tie. The Cavs, with a 3-1 series win, hold the tiebreaker. But Cleveland (51-29) has the back end of its back-to-back at Miami on Monday night and then finishes at home against Toronto, while the Celtics finish at home against the Milwaukee Bucks.
So, if both go 2-0, Cleveland gets the top spot. But if Boston sweeps, which could happen, and the Cavs lose one?
That is what makes Cleveland collapse on Sunday so big.
The Celtics bounced back from losses to the Cavs and Hawks with a win at Charlotte on Saturday night, blowing a 19-point lead, falling behind by seven and then rallying for the win.
Boston coach Brad Stevens gathered his players during a timeout when they were down seven midway through the fourth quarter Saturday and told them they can expect this kind of adversity in the postseason.
Thomas had another big fourth quarter, and now the Celtics have a real chance of finishing it off with two wins at home and 53 for the regular season. However, the Celtics did lose to the Bucks in Boston recently.
The Celtics — who will switch draft spots with the Nets, who secured the league’s worst record Friday night and will get a lottery pick — are 3-0 against Brooklyn this season. But the Nets are much better lately, winning four of their last five after going 16-59 in their first 75 games.
The Nets damaged the Bulls’ playoff chances with a win Saturday night. Brooklyn can hurt the Bulls again in the finale, at Chicago, on Wednesday night.
“Even though we have lost a lot of games this year, we have played in a lot of close games,” LeVert said. “I think we played very smart down the stretch. It obviously showed on both ends of the court.”
And the Saturday win in the home finale was a big one for the Nets’ suffering fans.
“I was telling myself I have to bring that up, so I’m glad you asked. I just think it’s fantastic,” coach Kenny Atkinson said. “Sellout tonight, they’ve supported us all year. It makes you emotional. That’s important to us.”
KEY OF THE GAME: The Nets would need strong defensive effort from both starters and bench if they hope to win on the road against a motivated Celtics team. Will Brook-Lin lead the way for the younger teammates to pull the upset? This could be an important statement game from the Nets to announce their arrival as a contender next season.
Let’s hope and pray JLin will stay healthy and continue to lead the Nets to win more games!
Let’s go, JLin and the Nets!