The Brooklyn Nets still don’t know who they’ll play in the first
round of the playoffs, but they hope to be fully rested and healthy
once it starts.
With the Eastern Conference’s fourth seed locked up, the Nets
will go for their first season sweep of the Detroit Pistons in
franchise history and sixth win in seven games overall Wednesday
night in Brooklyn.
Even with starters Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Reggie Evans and
Joe Johnson getting the night off, the Nets (48-33) rallied from a
17-point deficit to beat Washington 106-101 on Monday.
Andray Blatche had 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Kris
Humphries scored a season-high 20 with nine boards as part of the
Nets’ makeshift lineup. Both big men started for the first time
“Even though we had already clinched the playoffs and it didn’t
matter whether we win or lose, we wanted to win that game,” said
Tyshawn Taylor, who had a season-high 14 points and hit a key
3-pointer with 22 seconds left.
As Blatche played a season-high 38 minutes, Humphries played 34
after averaging less than 16 over his previous nine games.
“We’re not going to be successful in the playoffs unless we get
the Kris Humphries that we know,” coach P.J. Carlesimo said of his
former starting power forward. “It was a big step for him.”
While it’s unclear if Blatche and Humphries will be in the
lineup again for Lopez and Evans, Gerald Wallace could get a second
straight start as he continues to work his way back from a heel
injury. Wallace had two points in 22 minutes against the Wizards
after missing the previous two games.
“Hopefully if he comes out of it well tomorrow, we can play him
more on Wednesday,” Carlesimo said.
Carlesimo’s club will play either Chicago or Atlanta to open the
playoffs. Brooklyn has split four games with the Hawks and has
dropped three of four to the Bulls.
First, the Nets will try to sweep Detroit for the first time in
their 36-year history.
After winning the first two meetings by a combined five points,
Brooklyn led by as many as 43 in a 119-82 rout at Detroit on March
18 behind Williams’ 31 points.
Johnson scored a team-high 28 points and made a jumper as time
expired in the second overtime to give the Nets a 107-105 victory
in the last meeting in Brooklyn on Dec. 14.
While there is some uncertainty surrounding the future of the
franchise, the Pistons (29-52) have put together one of their best
stretches at the end of an otherwise disappointing season.
Greg Monroe had 27 points and 16 rebounds as Detroit beat
Philadelphia 109-101 on Monday to match a season high with its
fourth straight win.
Before the game, Pistons owner Tom Gores remained noncommittal
on the status of coach Lawrence Frank and team president Joe
“At the end of the day, this is our job,” said Monroe, averaging
19.6 points this month. “When you step on the court, you have to
play, and that’s what I focus on. There’s always going to be stuff
that happens off the court.”
Now the Pistons look to close the season by winning five in a
row for the first time since Dec. 4-12, 2009.
Detroit has averaged 108.0 points and made 44.2 percent from
3-point range during its four-game win streak, compared to 92.3 and
17.6 percent (9 of 51) in its three losses to the Nets.