After going 1-1 last weekend in Florida, the Nets have six regular season games remaining after playing the Houston Rockets last night (Wednesday) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. They went into the game 40-35. A playoff attitude is what the Nets need right now as they fight to stay one of the top six seeds in the Eastern Conference and avoid being a Play-In Tournament team.
The Nets blew out the Miami Heat by 129-100 Saturday night, a team that they’re battling for the No. 6 seed in the East. On Sunday, they fell to the young Orlando Magic, No. 13 in the East and well out of the postseason hunt, by 119-106.
The Nets took a 25-24 first quarter lead, then were outscored 36-26 in the second quarter to trail 60-51. Down 18 by the third, the Nets weren’t able to close the gap and the Magic held a large lead for the rest of the game.
“First quarter, we were able to hang around a little bit. We were okay,” said Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn. “But to sustain it over the course of the night, to play the way we wanted to play, to defend the way we wanted to play … we just didn’t have it tonight… We’ll have another back-to-back and we’ll have to deal with it better than we did this time, for sure.”
The Nets’ next and last back-to-back this season will come next week when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves in Brooklyn on Tuesday, then play the Detroit Pistons on the road next Wednesday.
Nets forward Mikal Bridges, who scored a team-high 44-points against the Magic, summed up the reason the Nets didn’t sweep their short Florida trip. “They just played harder than us,” he said of the Magic. Bridges also led the Nets with 27 against the Heat.
In that game, the Nets were down 69-65 at the half, but held the Heat to eighteen third period points and thirteen in the fourth, ending a five game losing streak. “We had the mindset coming in that this was a playoff game,” said forward Cam Johnson, who scored 23 for Brooklyn.
On Tuesday, the Nets revealed that forward Ben Simmons, who has not played since February 15 due to knee and back issues, would be shut down for the remainder of this season but would not require surgery as of now and instead will begin a rehab program.
The Nets will play their next two games at home, taking on the Atlanta Hawks tomorrow and the Utah Jazz on Sunday.