Nets' upcoming games against Cavaliers have a playoff feel to them
Yes, the Nets have heard the report.
They have seen the anonymously-sourced story from Cleveland.com saying that the Nets are the team the Cavaliers want in the playoffs, that “they are privately hoping for a Brooklyn matchup.”
And on the surface, the Nets really aren’t all that insulted.
“Not really,” Spencer Dinwiddie said Tuesday morning after the team’s shoot around. “It’s not something that I would say to the media, but if I had a choice of playing a team that had just got put together three weeks ago versus one playing Giannis (Antetokounmpo) or something of that nature that’s a defending champion, I think that would be the most honest answer you could give. So, I don’t think it’s bulletin board material.”
The Nets opened what could be viewed as a mini playoff series Tuesday night when they played the first of two consecutive games against Cleveland. The Cavaliers, who are almost locked into fourth given that they entered Tuesday night’s play four games behind the 76ers and three ahead of fifth-place Knicks, play the Nets again on Thursday at the Barclays Center.
The Nets, meanwhile, entered Tuesday night precariously perched in the sixth and final playoff spot – two games behind the Knicks and just one game ahead of the Heat, whom they play in Miami on Saturday.
Nic Claxton said the Nets aren’t worried about who they play in the postseason.
“I mean, I heard something (they said),” Claxton said. “I don’t know if they think that’s sweet. But we’ll match up against anybody. We’re just trying to take it game by game, win as many games as we can and get as high as high a seed as possible. And if that’s our matchup, then we’ll take care of them.”
Claxton is the only starter who has been with the Net all season. The rest joined the team shortly before the February trading deadline when the team traded Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
If you take away All-Star week, the current group has been playing together for about four weeks. While they seemed to find their rhythm early this month when a win at Boston launched them on a stretch where they won five of six games, they entered Thursday night’s game having lost three in a row.
Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said in his pregame press conference that he hadn’t heard about the story that the Cavaliers wanted to play his team in the postseason and if they did he would address it at the time.
“I really try to tell the guys just to look at it as today’s game,” Vaughn said. “I really haven’t looked at it as a series or a potential matchup…..You don’t know who’s going to win or who you’re going to play. That’s why you just worry about today’s work.”
Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff does see some playoff aspects to playing a team in consecutive games.
“I think the second night of this game on Thursday is the playoff like game, where you get to see the same team and work on the adjustments you need,” Bickerstaff said “I think for our team being a younger team without a lot of playoff experience, this is a great opportunity, great preparation for us to go out and do it.”
Notes & quotes: Dinwiddie when asked about playing Jarrett Allen, his former teammate and friend: “As far as Jarrett Allen, I don’t think anyone in the Brooklyn Nets organization thinks he’s a good rebounder or is scared of him at all. We look forward to dunking on Jarrett Allen.”