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
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
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
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