(Basketball news) The Brooklyn Nets qualified for the playoffs after they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the play-in tournament 115-108. For the Nets, Kyrie Irving had 34 points and 12 assists, Kevin Durant added 25 points and 11 assists, and the Nets took the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. For the Cavs, Darius Garland scored 34 points as Rookie Evan Mobley scored 19 points and Love had 14 points and 13 rebounds.The Cavaliers remained without All-Star center Jarrett Allen because of a broken finger. After this victory the Nets face a monumental task against in form Boston Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The Cavs get one more chance to secure a playoff position when they face the winners of Hawks vs Hornets on 15th April.
''I know that team very well and they know us very well and it'll be a back and forth,'' said Irving, a former Celtics guard, ''and once you throw that ball in the air, you're going to really see some spectacular basketball.''
“You can't give a team like Brooklyn that has championship aspirations and players who have won championships a 22-point lead,'' Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. ''Again, give our guys credit for getting back in it. But that's damn near impossible to overcome.''
''I always say about Kyrie in a March Madness, one-game type of situation, he's a tough guy to bet against,'' former Cavs teammate Kevin Love said. ''Again, seen this movie before but still – I think that there's just times where he comes out and plays out of his mind and that's why he's a future Hall of Famer. So you just kind of have to tip your hat to him. He hit some really tough, contested shots today.''
The Minnesota Timberwolves also secured the 7th spot in the Western conference and qualified for the playoffs after beating the La Clippers 109-104. For the Timberwolves, Edwards and Russell combined for 59 points as both came through with a steady stream of clutch plays. Edwards scored 30 points with five 3-pointers and Russell had 29 points and six assists to send the Wolves to the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference and a first-round matchup with Memphis. For the Clippers, Paul George finished with 34 points after shooting 2 for 10 in the first half as Reggie Jackson scored 17 points and Norman Powell finished with 16 points. The Clippers have a second chance to make the playoffs with a home game on Friday for the No. 8 seed against either New Orleans or San Antonio.
''The game had to go in a different direction,'' coach Chris Finch said. ''That's why you have a team, because a lot of other people step up.''
''Just utilizing what we have,'' Russell said. ''We've got a lot of pieces that complement each other.''
''I took what the game gave me. That's what they gave me. They were scared to guard me, and I took advantage of that,'' Edwards said.
''I'm one of the best defensive guys on earth, and no one can guard him,'' said Beverley, who was in tears during the spirited celebration afterward as Edwards hopped up on the scorer's table.’’
''They played a lot better without KAT on the floor,'' Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. ''They got into us defensively. They switched on a lot more stuff. I just didn't think we made the right plays.''
The other matches in the play-in tournament are:
- Hawks vs Hornets
- Spurs vs Pelicans