The Brooklyn Nets clinched a playoff spot Tuesday night after defeating the Toronto Raptors 116-103. They are the first Eastern Conference team to confirm a playoff spot.
Now, the Nets cannot fall below sixth in the Eastern Conference standings.
“It’s great,” Nets coach Steve Nash said of securing a playoff spot. “I think we have our eyes on more important things, but it is a good first step to secure a place. For this group, facing everything we have faced, being in this position with 10 games to play is very positive.”
Nets guard Joe Harris said James Harden, who remains out of the game with a hamstring strain, mentioned that he had secured several of the Nets’ players Tuesday. Nets big man Jeff Green said that after all the injuries the team has been through, including playing long stretches without Harden, Kevin Durant, Tyler Johnson and others, having a guaranteed playoff spot is rewarding, but not the end goal of the team.
“It’s something we can hang our hats on,” Green said. “That’s something we can be proud of, but we also have to realize that that’s not the goal … We have to take the next step, and that is to focus on what we have to accomplish in the playoffs to get to. our highest level. “
The Nets currently occupy the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Philadelphia 76ers are behind the Nets by 1 ½ games.
“We have to be excited about some of the things we’ve done, but we can’t be happy and we have to keep working,” Green said.
The Nets have 10 games left in the regular season and only play four of them at home at the Barclays Center. Brooklyn has yet to put together a meaningful career with a completely healthy roster. Harden, who is pitching and doing strength work, still has “a long way to go,” according to Nash, before he returns. Nash added that the team may not get many games, if any, with a full roster before the postseason. The Nets also don’t have Nicolas Claxton, who has missed five games while on the league’s coronavirus safety protocols.
The Nets’ Big Three: Durant, Harden and Kyrie Irving have only played seven games together.
“I think everyone is in a good mood,” Nash said of the group. “And I just want to keep building, keep improving, keep improving before the playoffs start, which is in a limited amount of time.”