The Brooklyn Nets entered the night with an opportunity to clinch a playoff berth and fully avoid the play-in tournament. Brooklyn needed a win over the Timberwolves or a Miami Heat loss to secure their postseason ticket. Unfortunately, neither happened, and the Nets are still technically on the outside looking in.
Following their 107-102 loss to Minnesota and the Heat’s win over the Pistons, the Nets only have one game separating them from having to play their way into the postseason.
How do the Nets clinch a playoff spot?
With three games remaining, Brooklyn has the easiest path to securing the sixth seed of any other team. With the fifth seed clinched by the Knicks, the Nets have no chance of moving up in the rankings. However, there are a couple of scenarios in which the Nets could secure the sixth seed.
Scenarios to secure the 6th spot in the East
The Nets finish 2-1 or better in their final three games.
The Heat finish 2-1 or worse in their final three games.
Thankfully, after winning the season series 3-0 over the Heat, Brooklyn has the tiebreaker over Miami. Nonetheless, if the Nets somehow find their way into the play-in tournament, the team will still have a chance to secure a spot in the postseason.
How will the play-in tournament work?
The play-in tournament is a newer format the league inserted during the 2019–20 NBA season. Luckily for the Nets, they’re in the best position of all the teams in the tournament.
If the team were to find itself as low as the seventh seed in the East, they would essentially face a “win and you’re in” situation. The No. 7 seed will play the No. 8 seed, and the winner will gain a playoff berth as the seventh seed. If Brooklyn were to come out of the matchup with a victory, the team would wait for the play-in tournament to conclude with the other playoff teams and prepare for the first round of the playoffs.
If the Nets were to lose their first matchup of the tournament, this is where their luck comes into play. Unlike other teams in the tournament, Brooklyn is technically granted two chances to secure their spot in the postseason. What does this mean?
Hypothetically, if the Nets lose to the eighth seed in the tournament, they will move on to play the winner of the matchup between the No. 9 seed and No. 10 seed. The winner of this matchup will secure the eighth and final spot in the East for the playoffs.
Brooklyn will have multiple avenues to secure their spot in the playoffs, but while the seeding is far from finalized, Nets fans will have to wait to see where their team lands.