The Brooklyn Nets close out a 3-game homestand Wednesday by hosting the Toronto Raptors, who can be locked into the East’s No. 2 seed with a loss.
The Brooklyn Nets will look to close out their final homestand of the regular season with a 2-1 record as they host the Toronto Raptors Wednesday night at Barclays Center.
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Brooklyn (39-39) will close out the regular season with a single home game against the Miami Heat on April 10 and still has work to do to ensure a playoff spot.
None of the contenders for the final three spots still open in the Eastern Conference were in action Tuesday, leaving the Nets a half-game behind the sixth-place Detroit Pistons (39-38) and a half-game up on the Miami Heat (38-39), currently eighth.
Outside of the top eight are the Orlando Magic (38-40), a half-game behind the Heat and a game in back of Brooklyn, while the Charlotte Hornets (35-42) are clinging to hope at three games behind Miami and 3½ behind the Nets, but no longer control their own destiny.
On the scoreboard watch Wednesday, the Pistons host the Indiana Pacers, the Magic are home to the New York Knicks, Miami hosts the Boston Celtics and the Hornets visit the New Orleans Pelicans.
All five teams in the hunt for the three remaining Eastern playoff bids lost on Monday.
The Raptors (55-23) long since wrapped up their sixth consecutive playoff appearance and still have a mathematical shot at taking the top seed in the East for a second straight year, but will be relegated to the No. 2 spot with either their next loss or the next victory by the first-place Milwaukee Bucks.
The Nets lost to the Bucks on Monday, 131-121, after opening the homestand with a victory Saturday night over the Celtics and are 4-6 in their last 10 games, including losing three of the last four.
Toronto comes in on a four-game winning streak (although two of those wins were over the lottery-bound Chicago Bulls and one came against the NBA’s worst team, the Knicks) and have won seven of their last 10.
The Raptors play three of their last four on the road, including Wednesday night along with a Friday night matchup at Charlotte and the regular-season finale Tuesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Toronto’s lone remaining home game is Sunday against the Heat.
The only Brooklyn player on the injury report was guard Allen Crabbe, who has been ruled out for the ninth straight game with his lingering right knee soreness.
Two of the three meetings between the Nets and Raptors have been tightly contested.
Brooklyn beat Toronto in overtime the last time the teams met at Barclays Center on Dec. 7 and the Raptors needed a Kawhi Leonard jumper with 4.4 seconds to eke out a two-point win in Toronto on Feb. 11.
Here are three things to watch as the Nets and Raptors tangle in what could be — based on the current standings — a preview of a first-round playoff matchup.