East Notes: Nets, Cavs, Hawks

Nets

After struggling minus an injured Kevin Durant midway through the season, the Nets feel as if they are in a good place today.

They own the No. 7 seed entering the play-in tournament and host the eighth-seeded Cavaliers on Tuesday.

“We stayed with it. We all had one goal in mind and we saw it through,” center Andre Drummond told reporters. “We finished off the year great.”

Should the Nets beat the Cavs, they will square off with the Celtics in the first round. But first, the Cavs. Nowadays, Durant, Kyrie Irving and all the other key players are healthy.

“Now we get to carry some of that momentum on into Tuesday,” Irving said.

  • Nets newcomer Ben Simmons did some shooting work prior to the regular-season finale, a win over the Pacers. Speculation suggests Simmons could make his season debut in the playoffs. “He’s doing a little bit of movement,” coach Steve Nash said. “Still 1-on-0 stuff, so he still got a lot of milestones to reach, but it’s positive. At least he’s moving around a little bit.”
  • The Nets and the Cavs each finished 44-38, but the Nets won the season series, therefore making Brooklyn the host site of their play-in game.

Cavaliers

Coach J.B. Bickerstaff was pleased with how his team utterly dominated a stripped down version of the Bucks on Sunday. Now, even if the Cavs lose to the Nets on Tuesday, they will get a home play-in game.

“They just played the game with purpose,” Bickerstaff said of his team. “Times this year we’ve been in circumstances where we didn’t play the game with 48 minutes of purpose. (Sunday), I thought they did a great job of coming out and setting the tone and playing the game the way we needed to play it.”

  • Bickerstaff indicated before the game that center Jarrett Allen potentially could be ready for the play-in tournament. Allen suffered a broken finger on March 6. “If he’s ready to go, he’ll go,” Bickerstaff said.
  • Kevin Love scored 32 points against the Bucks, becoming the first player in NBA history to record 30-plus points and make six 3-pointers in less than 20 minutes. You can check out some related Cavs Dribbles right here.

Hawks

The Hawks are the No. 9 seed and will host the Hornets in the play-in tournament, paying the price for a slow start one season after reaching the East finals.

“This feeling of what we are going through right now is not the feeling I expect next season,” coach Nate McMillan said. “Next year we don’t want to experience this. Next year the mindset — I want it to be different.”

  • McMillan added that at least the Hawks will get to play the Hornets at home. Should the Hawks win, they will have to play on the road against the loser of the Cavs-Nets game. “We get a home game. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but we’ve been pretty good at home.”

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