The Brooklyn Nets appeared to be in the drivers seat for a playoff spot but a 113-86 loss in Chicago on Monday once again has them on the outside looking in. Nikola Mirotic scored 26 points to lead Chicago while Pau Gasol recorded a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. The Bulls outscored the Nets 56-36 in the second half.
The loss drops the Nets to a half game behind the idle Indiana Pacers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Indiana hosts Washington on Tuesday and wraps up the season on Wednesday in Memphis. Brooklyn will end the season at home against Orlando on Wednesday. The Nets hold the tie breaker over the Pacers so Indy must finish ahead of them in the standings to capture the playoff spot.
Brooklyn's loss on Monday also clinches a playoff spot for the Boston Celtics who are currently in the seventh spot at 38-42.
Here is an updated look at the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference:
|7. Boston Celtics||38-42||21.5||vs Toronto, @ Milwaukee|
|8. Indiana Pacers||37-43||22.5||vs Washington, @ Memphis|
|Brooklyn Nets||37-44||23.0||vs Orlando|
|Miami Heat||36-45||24.0||@ Philadelphia|
While Indiana might present a more formidable challenge for the Hawks in the playoffs, there is reason for Atlanta to be rooting against Brooklyn to reach the post season. Atlanta has the rights to swap draft picks with the Nets this summer and Brooklyn missing the playoffs would result in the Hawks' receiving a lottery pick in the June Draft.