Thursday, April 17, 2014
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Cavs Knock Nets Down To No. 6 Seed

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[April 17, 2014]  CLEVELAND  The Brooklyn Nets were more concerned with resting their starters than with who they were going to play in the first round of the playoffs.

With their 114-85 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday in the season finale, the Nets dropped to the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Brooklyn (44-38) will face the Atlantic Division champion Toronto Raptors on Saturday in Game 1 of a best-of-seven series.

Had the Nets won Wednesday, they would have earned the No. 5 seed and played Chicago in the first round.

Forwards Marcus Thornton and Andray Blatche each scored 20 points for the Nets.

Brooklyn coach Jason Kidd rested starting forwards Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and guards Joe Johnson and Deron Williams.

"I like right where we are," Kidd said. "We are in a good place and playing some good basketball of late. We've rested and guys have gotten their work in at the same time. Now, it's time to figure out how to get a win on the road."


The Cavaliers have other things to figure out.

There are several major decisions facing the franchise this summer. None is bigger than the five-year, $80 million maximum extension the Cavs are expected to offer two-time All-Star Kyrie Irving.

"Obviously, I'm aware I can be extended this summer," he said. "It's a big deal for me if they do offer me that. It will be exciting. I'll make the best decision for me and my family. That's what it will boil down to."

Irving doesn't sound like someone who wants out.

"I've been part of this, and I want to continue to be part of this," he said. "We've made some strides in the right direction, especially as an organization. I want to be part of something special. I don't have a definitive answer to that right now."

The offer is expected to come on July 1.

But there is other heavy lifting to be done by the Cavs. Coach Mike Brown and acting general manager David Griffin are waiting to hear their fate moving forward.

"I'm thankful to (owner Dan Gilbert) for the opportunity he's given me," Brown said. "It's his team. Whatever decision he makes, I'm going to support."

Don't expect any big decisions this weekend, however.

Gilbert is attending the Board of Governors meeting in New York on Thursday and Friday.

The Cavs (33-49) avoided their third 50-loss season in the last four years with their victory over the makeshift Nets.

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Center Tyler Zeller paced the Cavs with 22 points and 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season. The 7-footer reached double figures in scoring in each of the last four games. He was 9-for-11 from the field against the Nets.

Guard Dion Waiters added 19 points for the Cavs. In his last 15 games  since moving back into the starting lineup at shooting guard  he has averaged 21.2 points and 4.2 assists. That's sixth best in the East over that span. He also has scored 20 or more points in nine of his last 15 games.

Irving added 15 points and five assists for the Cavs, while power forward Tristan Thompson recorded his 36th double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Guard Jorge Gutierrez, signed off the D-League Canton Charge roster, added 13 points for the Nets before fouling out.

"It's like a new season starts right now," Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko said. "Right now, every game counts. Every possession and every set you play on the floor is important. Right now it's going to be very important to stay concentrated and to keep our heads in the game."

NOTES: There will likely be no big decisions made in Cleveland this week. Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert is attending the NBA Board of Governors meeting in New York on Thursday and Friday. ... Cavaliers F Anthony Bennett admits his rookie year was "interesting." That might be a major understatement. The No. 1 overall pick missed the previous 17 games with a strained left patellar tendon before returning to score seven points Wednesday. "I've learned a lot," said Bennett, who averaged 4.1 points and 2.9 rebounds going into the finale. ... Cavaliers G/F C.J. Miles (sprained left ankle) and F Luol Deng (sore back) sat out the season finale. ... Cavs G/F Carrick Felix, a second-round pick from Arizona State, played for the first time since Jan. 7 vs. Philadelphia. The guard has missed the previous 37 games with a stress fracture to his left patellar. He had 10 points  more than he had scored all season.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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