The Nets are tanking for the 6th seed, and it is awesome
The Brooklyn Nets trailed by 21 points at home in the 4th quarter last night to a lottery-bound New York Knicks team that was playing without Carmelo Anthony (they eventually fell 109-98). Kevin Garnett started at center, played 15 minutes, didn't score, and grabbed only two rebounds. Paul Pierce saw just 21 minutes of action. Meanwhile Marcus Thornton was on the court for 30 minutes and was the game's high scorer with 24 points, and a guy I'd never heard of until looking at the box score, Jorge Gutierrez, played 27 minutes for Brooklyn at point guard.
The Knicks were even throwing ridiculous passes to themselves off the backboard:
Why did all this happen? Because the Nets were trying to lose. My guess is they'll do their best not to win in Cleveland tonight too. At 44-37 Brooklyn currently owns the 5th seed in the East, but would fall to 6th behind Washington (43-38, won season series with Nets) with a loss this evening and a Wizard's victory in Boston.
Unless the Bulls win in Charlotte and the Raptors lose to the Knicks, the 5th seed will travel to Chicago as the #4, and the 6th seed will visit #3 Toronto. It's no surprise that the Nets would rather play the Raptors than the Bulls. But even more significantly, Brooklyn may be thinking ahead to Round 2. From the #5 spot they'd take on #1 Indiana (baring a disastrous Pacers' first round loss to the Hawks), but as the #6 they'd get... drum roll please: The Heat (assuming Miami doesn't lose to the Bobcats, or possibly Wizards).
The Nets went 4-0 vs the Heat this season, and you know Pierce and Garnett have to be salivating at the idea of getting another chance to knock of LeBron and Dwyane Wade in the postseason.
The other good news for Celtics fans coming from Brooklyn's mini-tank (besides the dream of Pierce and KG beating LeBron one more time) is that Boston owns the Nets' first round draft pick, which could be #17 overall instead of #18.
Hopefully the Celtics do their part against Washington.
Follow Mark Vandeusen on twitter @LucidSportsFan