Kevin Durant doesn’t care who Nets play in postseason, “Just tip the ball up”


Kevin Durant is ready for some postseason basketball.

The Nets will be in that mix, but they will be coming through the play-in — as of Tuesday night they are the No. 8 seed in the East. That means at least one extra game and one extra win is needed just to get into the playoffs. Durant was asked if he was looking ahead and thinking about possible postseason opponents and his response was, “who cares?”

“Who cares? Whoever we play, we play. I ddon’t care who we play. I don’t care that we’re in the play-in. Just tip the ball up. See what happens. It’s too stressful thinking about trying to dodge a team or lining up. Just play the game. We’ll see what happens.”

What likely happens is a first-round Nets elimination (despite what the lines in Vegas suggest). The top teams in the East — Miami, Milwaukee, Boston — are just deeper and better than Brooklyn. The offensive firepower of Durant and Kyrie Irving (he had 42 Tuesday night) can win them any one game, but the Nets 23rd ranked defense — which has given up a couple more points per 100 possessions the last two weeks than their season average — is not going to get enough stops to beat an elite team four out of seven.

That doesn’t mean those top teams want to face the Nets, they would much rather see Cleveland, Atlanta, Charlotte or even Chicago. Kevin Durant will test the defense of whatever team he faces, but the Nets, even with Durant and Irving, have not been great this season.

If the Nets can hold on to the No. 8 seed, their path through the play-in is much easier — they would only need to win one of two games. They would open against a stumbling Cleveland team, and even if Brooklyn lost that it would have another chance, a win-or-go-home game against Atlanta or Charlotte. Fall back to No. 9 or 10 and the Nets would need to win two games to advance.

The Nets control their own destiny in that sense, win each of their three remaining games and they will be the No. 8 seed. Those three games are at the Knicks Wednesday on the second night of a back-to-back, against those stumbling Cavaliers, then the Nets close against the Pacers.