NEW YORK – Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant mixed for 55 factors because the Brooklyn Nets held off a rally from the Indiana Pacers on Sunday to seal seventh place within the Eastern Conference and clinch residence benefit for subsequent week’s play-in.
The Nets’ closing common season recreation regarded set to be a blowout for lengthy durations as Brooklyn jumped out to an 18-point lead within the first half.
But a dogged Pacers unit drew stage at 89-89 with lower than 5 minutes remaining within the third quarter earlier than Brooklyn regrouped to drag clear and run out 134-126 winners.
The win means Brooklyn will face a house recreation in opposition to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday the place a victory will see them enter instantly into the playoffs as seventh seeds.
The Nets will head into that showdown buoyed by the current type of Irving and Durant.
Irving completed with 35 factors, seven rebounds and 5 assists on Sunday, going 15-of-20 from the sector.
Durant, in the meantime, accomplished a triple double of 20 factors, 10 rebounds and a career-high 16 assists whereas Brooklyn had six gamers end in double figures.
“It’s been an up and down last few weeks for us — winning some games, losing some games,” Durant stated afterwards.
“I think we’re finding out who we are as a group and that’s always a good thing.”
Durant is now wanting ahead eagerly to the enterprise finish of the season, beginning with Tuesday’s task in opposition to Cleveland.
“It’s been a long year and this is the perfect time of the year to play our best basketball,” Durant stated.
A Brooklyn victory over Cleveland on Tuesday would see the Nets face the second seeds from the Eastern Conference within the first spherical of the playoffs — doubtlessly the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks.
Milwaukee’s destiny as second seeds was left within the steadiness nevertheless after their under-strength lineup was thumped 133-115 by the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Sunday.
The Bucks had been with out key gamers Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Bobby Portis for the sport which was notable for a weird fleeting cameo by one other mainstay Jrue Holiday.
Holiday got here onto the court docket for the tipoff and promptly dedicated a foul after eight seconds earlier than leaving the court docket with out returning.
Reports stated the transient look allowed him to gather a $255,000 bonus included in his contract for that includes in 67 video games this season.
Whether Milwaukee hold on to second seeding after Sunday’s defeat is determined by the result of Boston’s street recreation in Memphis later Sunday.
The Celtics will leapfrog into second place with a win over the Grizzlies.
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