Nets target 5th spot versus Knicks
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Brooklyn Nets try to secure the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference standings and close a three-game homestand on a positive note when they host the rival New York Knicks Tuesday.
The Nets are 1 1/2 games ahead of Washington for the No. 5 spot with two games remaining, while the Wizards have just one game left. The Wizards hold the tiebreaker by virtue of a 3-0 mark against the Nets this season.
After having a franchise-record 15-game home winning streak come to an end versus Atlanta on Friday, the Nets responded with Sunday's 97-88 victory over Orlando at Barclays Center.
Mirza Teletovic came off the bench and scored a game-high 20 points and added six rebounds, while Joe Johnson and Mason Plumlee netted 17 apiece. Plumlee also grabbed 11 rebounds for the Nets, winners in four of six games and owners of a 34-15 record since the start of January.
"We've got to try to fine-tune and keep this chemistry that we have going into the postseason," Johnson said.
Deron Williams tallied 16 points in the win to help Brooklyn to a 28-12 record as the host. The Nets are 23-3 in their last 26 home games and 35-11 when holding teams under 100 points. In injury news for the Nets, guard Shaun Livingston (toe) is questionable Tuesday.
Nets veteran forward Paul Pierce, the newest member of the 25,000-point club, had 10 points versus the Magic and is three shy of reaching 1,000 for a 15th straight season. He would become the only active player in the NBA and just the sixth player in league history to score 1,000 points in 15 or more consecutive seasons.
The others were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, John Havlicek, Elvin Hayes and Robert Parish.
Brooklyn will close the regular season at Cleveland on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Knicks were hoping to reach the playoffs for a fourth straight season, but missed out on that chance. The Atlanta Hawks were able to sew up the eighth and final postseason spot in the East.
New York has won two straight and five of seven games, and pulled off a 100-89 victory Sunday versus the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 20 points and both Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith netted 17 in a losing cause.
"We didn't get it done and being the coach, I just apologize to the fans because they paid their hard-earned money to come see us play and we didn't come into this season expecting this," Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said.
The Knicks will try to improve their 17-23 road record Tuesday and have won eight of the last 11 games as the visitor.
New York will close the season Wednesday at home versus Toronto and recently defeated Brooklyn 110-81 on April 2 at MSG. Smith buried 6-of-12 3-pointers for 24 points and Anthony added 23 and 10 rebounds to lead the Knicks, who are 2-1 in the season series and have won 10 of the past 14 meetings with the Nets. The winner in this season's series has scored 100-plus points, while the loser has failed to post more than 83.
New York has won six of eight and nine of its last 12 at the Nets.
04/15 10:36:39 ET