Nets secure playoff spot after a drama-filled 2023 season

From all-star trades, to coach firings, to racial controversies, the 2022-2023 regular season has finally come to an end for the Brooklyn Nets. Starting with an all-star caliber squad with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons, to now having a completely new core with Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, and Spencer Dinwiddie, the Nets have had a unique season to say the least.

Despite all that, the Nets were able to firmly secure their spot in the playoffs after garnering a few wins this week, finalizing a sixth place spot in the Eastern Conference and narrowly avoiding the playoffs. The Nets are now set to face off against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the 2023 Eastern Conference playoffs.

On Apr. 5,  the Nets faced off against the Detroit Pistons in a 123-108 blowout win to help secure their playoff spot as the regular season was just days away from coming to a close. The Nets were able to control the pace throughout the game and prevent any sort of comeback from the Pistons. They took advantage of the rebound game and Dinwiddie was able to help facilitate the floor offensively with his assists. Dinwiddie garnered a large amount of assists that night which not only helped the Nets win the game, but matched his career-high in assists with 16.

The Nets started with the highest amount of points they’ve scored in a quarter with 47 in the first quarter and continued to damage the Pistons as the game went on. R.J. Hampton carried the Pistons’ offense in the third quarter with consecutive 3-pointers to bring the Pistons back from a 17-point deficit in the beginning of the quarter. Hampton’s performance cut the lead to a 4-point game, but the Pistons failed to capitalize on the momentum heading into the fourth quarter and quickly lost their chances to win the game. The Nets came back in the fourth quarter with both the scoring and rebounding which helped put an end to the Pistons with the blowout win. 

Bridges was the leading scorer with 26 points and six assists, while Nicolas Claxton  was behind him with 19 points and seven rebounds. Royce O’Neale put up 15 points and eight rebounds, while Johnson also scored 15 points on 6-8 shooting from the field. Off the bench, Joe Harris had 18 points on 6-9 shooting from the 3-point line, while Day’Ron Sharpe had 10 points and seven rebounds. 

Jaden Ivey was the leading scorer for the Pistons’ starters with 23 points, five rebounds and 10 assists. Jalen Duren had a near double-double with 18 points and eight rebounds, while James Wiseman had 16 points. Off the bench, Hampton had 27 points on 5-8 shooting from the 3-point line and five rebounds, while Cory Joseph put up 12 points on 4-5 shooting from the 3-point line. 

The Nets were able to grab their second-straight blowout win on Apr. 7 in a 101-84 win over the Orlando Magic. Despite already securing their playoff spot after the win over the Pistons and with the Miami Heat loss to the Washington Wizards, the Nets sealed their spot after defeating the Magic. The Nets grabbed a small 4-point lead to close the first quarter, but completely outscored the Magic throughout the second quarter.

Claxton and Seth Curry helped carry the majority of the offense with their scoring, along with great defense to cause turnovers for the Magic. The Nets outscored the Magic 31-16 in the second quarter to grab a 58-39 lead heading into halftime. The Magic tried to match up with the Nets on offense and played decently on defense, but the Magic never had an opportunity to go on a run or gain any momentum which led to the blowout win for the Nets.

Bridges was the leading scorer for the Nets with 22 points, while  Johnson put up 18 points, five rebounds and four steals. Claxton had a double-double with 14 points, 15 rebounds and two steals. Off the bench, Curry had 13 points.

For the Magic, Cole Anthony had 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Franz Wagner and Goga Bitadze each scored 12 points, while Bitadze also grabbed 15 rebounds. Off the bench, Kevon Harris had 10 points. 

Apr. 9 gave a preview of the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the Nets as they faced off against the Philadelphia 76ers, which ended with a 134-105 blowout loss for the Nets. However, it was not the preview that the fans may have expected as Bridges was the only starter from either team to play in Sunday’s game. Bridges only played for four seconds before immediately being benched for the rest of the game.

While it may have left the fans disappointed that they could not see a true sneak peek at the matchup for next week’s playoffs, it was a decision made by the coaches to rest up the starters while also giving the bench players the reps they needed before the playoffs began.

Cam Thomas put on an offensive clinic, similar to what he did in February when he put up three straight 40-point games. While the Nets were outscored 36-21 in the first quarter, it did not deter the Nets from attempting a comeback throughout the game. The Nets kept trailing as the game went on, but could not secure a lead despite being as close as being down only six points in the fourth quarter.

The Nets could not take advantage of their opportunity, missing consecutive shots, which allowed the 76ers to secure a double-digit lead again. Neither team shot well throughout the fourth quarter in an otherwise meaningless game. The 76ers still grabbed a blowout win over the Nets in what may be a preview of what could come next for the Nets in the playoffs.

Thomas had his fourth game scoring over 40 points, scoring 46 points. He had a great early February, scoring over 40 points for three consecutive games before being benched by head coach Jacque Vaughn once the rest of the Nets roster was assorted after the trades. Patty Mills had 12 points, while Yuta Watanabe stuffed the stat sheet with nine points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Off the bench, RaiQuan Gray had 16 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. David Duke Jr. had 15 points, eight rebounds and three steals. 

For the 76ers, Shake Milton was the leading scorer with 20 points, eight assists and two steals, while Paul Reed had  a double-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and five blocks. Off the bench, Louis King had 20 points, while Mac McClung had a near triple-double with 20 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Montrezl Harrell had 15 points, while Dewayne Dedmon had 14 points and seven rebounds. 


The Nets have had a tumultuous year of basketball. Drama aside, the team has improved their record since last year. They finished 45-37 this season, compared to 44-38 the previous season which had Durant. Despite the overhaul of the roster in the middle of the season, the Nets still managed to pull through and secure a playoff spot for the franchise. While the Nets may not be the choice to make it through the first round against the 76ers, this will at least give their roster some playoff experience and something they can take away from heading into next season. 

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