Home » Nets clinch third straight playoff appearance with win over Raptors

Nets clinch third straight playoff appearance with win over Raptors

Drive, kick. Drive, kick. Swing, swing, three.

That’s what it took, over, and over, and over again, for the Nets to defeat the Toronto Raptors, 116-103, on Tuesday. With the win, the Nets have officially clinched a playoff spot. After missing the playoffs for three straight seasons after the Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett era, the Nets have cemented their third straight appearance.

The win embodied the way an unhealthy Brooklyn roster must play to win games. With James Harden sidelined by a hamstring strain, the Raptors keyed in on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. It’s a Toronto special: Head coach Nick Nurse is one of the NBA’s most creative defensive minds. On Tuesday, his Raptors held Durant and Irving to one of their lowest-scoring games of the season as a duo.

Jeff Green leads Nets to victory on night bigger stars take backseat but Brooklyn still clinches its third straight playoff appearance.

“Clinching a playoff spot is not what we’re here to do,” veteran forward Jeff Green said postgame. “We’re here to keep improving.”

Irving finished with just nine points and four assists. Durant only took seven shots to get to his 17 points. Even though Kawhi Leonard left the Raptors, along with their championship hopes, two summers ago, they are still a scrappy and defensively sound young team.

That’s what the role players are for. It’s why the Nets have one of the highest payrolls in all of basketball. When Durant or Irving drive and kick, someone needs to let it fly. Or someone needs to know when to turn a good shot into a great shot and swing the ball to the open shooter.

It was a game for the so-called “others”: a team-high 22 points from Jeff Green, 16 from Joe Harris, 17 off the bench from Blake Griffin and 10 more from Tyler Johnson. Mike James, on a 10-day contract, also stepped up with 11 points and eight assists in 21 minutes of play.

The Nets put on a clinic: 30 assists on 40 made shots. Seven of eight players in double figures, with the super-scoring Irving as the only holdout. It was as selfless a performance as the coaching staff could have asked for, and exactly what the doctor ordered to ward off a feisty Raptor defense.

The win was earned: The Nets had to overcome a clear mismatch in the paint. The Raptors acquired shot-blocking, rebounding big man Khem Birch on the buyout market, and Birch had an Andre Drummond-like impact in the paint: 13 points and 14 rebounds, including nine on the offensive glass.

Conversely, Nets head coach Steve Nash opted against playing DeAndre Jordan, whose size and experience may have helped the team in a matchup against a physical big.

The Nets didn’t need him. They clinched their playoff spot with one of their best team victories of the season. Next up, they’ll face Caris LeVert in Indiana against the Pacers on Thursday.

Source (Ny Daily news)

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