The Nets had an opportunity to achieve some clarity in their playoff mess, a chance to clinch the fifth seed against an eliminated Knicks squad without Carmelo Anthony. Instead, they were embarrassed for the second time in two weeks on Tuesday night, 109-98, further muddying their playoff picture as the Barclays Center crowd erupted in a “Let’s Go Knicks” chant in the final minutes. The Nets (44-37) can still clinch the fifth seed with a win in the season finale Wednesday in Cleveland or a Wizards loss in Boston. But during a strangely defiant postgame press conference, coach Jason Kidd said for the first time that it doesn’t matter where the Nets finish. “Fifth, sixth, same thing,” said Kidd, whose team has lost three of its last four. “You know, we’re going to play Toronto or Chicago. You play 82 games to get a seed and we’ll be fifth or sixth.” Kidd said he’s still unsure who would play in Cleveland, but he seemed to go for it against the Knicks — playing Paul Pierce, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson each at least 21 minutes before the bench filled in for an extended garbage time. Regardless, as Kidd noted, their first-round opponent will either be Chicago (48-33) or Toronto (48-33), who are competing for the third seed. Both play Wednesday in separate games, with the Raptors owning the tiebreaker as the Atlantic Division winner. The only certainty for the Nets is that a victory over the Cavs on Wednesday ensures a course for a second-round showdown against the top-seeded Pacers rather than the No. 2 Heat. Kidd certainly coached like that was his preference, inserting Pierce, Johnson and Williams into the lineup after they were game-time decisions because of minor injuries.
Nets don’t clinch fifth seed as they fall to Knicks
New York Daily News | Apr 16