Nets' Andre Drummond Says Final 2 Regular-Season Games Are 'Must Win'

Adam WellsApril 8, 2022

Brooklyn Nets center Andre Drummond (0) stands on the court in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Sunday, March 27, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
AP Photo/John Minchillo

The Brooklyn Nets are locked in to one of the four play-in spots, but their final status won't be determined until the end of the regular season on Sunday. 

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Nets center Andre Drummond said the Nets are in "must-win" mode this weekend. 

"I think we know what's ahead of us and we know what's going to happen if we do win these two games," he explained. "I think our sense of urgency is a little bit higher than what it was before, and I think we're prepared to take that next step."

The Nets (42-38) are currently the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, but they could move up one spot or fall down to the No. 10 seed depending on how things go this weekend. 

Brooklyn and the Atlanta Hawks have the same record. The Nets have the head-to-head tiebreaker, so they would get the higher seed if they finish with matching records. 

The Charlotte Hornets (41-39) could move up to the eighth spot if they finish tied with either the Nets or Hawks. If all three teams finish with the same record, Brooklyn gets the No. 8 seed based on head-to-head winning percentage between the trio of clubs. 

Mike Conti @MikeConti929

The Hawks, Nets and Hornets are all now tied for 8th in the East at 40-37.<br><br>The three way tiebreak order is currently:<br>8. Brooklyn (3-2, .600)<br>9. Charlotte (4-3, .571)<br>10. Atlanta (2-4)<br><br>All of these teams are now 2.0 games out of 7th.

The Nets have already caught a break thanks to the Toronto Raptors' recent hot streak with 13 wins in their past 16 games to clinch a playoff berth. 

If the Raptors had been relegated to the play-in tournament, the Nets would have had to finish with a better record than them to avoid traveling to Toronto for a must-win game. Kyrie Irving wouldn't be eligible to play because of Canada's travel restrictions for unvaccinated individuals. 

Friday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers (43-37) has huge implications for both teams. A win by Cleveland would give it home-court advantage in the play-in tournament against whomever ends up being the No. 8 seed. 

A victory by the Nets will move them into the seventh seed and give them the tiebreaker advantage over Cleveland. They will host the Indiana Pacers on Sunday in the regular-season finale. 

The Nets are just 3-3 in their past six games since Irving made his home debut on March 27 against the Hornets. Their three wins during that span are against teams with a combined .325 winning percentage this season (Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets and New York Knicks).