They are one step closer to clinching the sixth seed.
The Nets came to Detroit needing two wins to clinch the last guaranteed playoff spot and are halfway to that goal after beating the Pistons, 123-108, at Little Caesars Arena.
The Nets (44-36) easily surpassed their season average points per game (113.5) and handed the lowly Pistons (16-64) their 22nd loss in 23 games, handing Dwane’s team Casey the best odds of being suitors to win the Victor. Wembanyama raffle.
Spencer Dinwiddie led the charge for the visiting team, totaling 10 assists in the first quarter. He is the only player in the league to do so this season and the third in franchise history (Jason Kidd and Robert Pack). He finished with six points and tied his career high with 16 assists in 33 minutes.
Four of those assists went to Joe Harris, who filled in after Cam Johnson limped off the court after kneeing with Jaden Ivey in the first quarter. Harris made five straight 3-pointers shortly after entering the game, finishing the quarter with six 3-pointers and 18 points. Harris finished the night shooting 6-for-9 off the bench.
The Nets finished the first quarter up 13 and held the lead throughout the game.
Wednesday’s game served as a soft landing spot for a team fighting for playoff qualification after a tough loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Jacque Vaughn’s team entered the back-to-back game as 11.5-point favorites against the Pistons, who will finish the season with the worst record in the NBA.
One bright spot for the Pistons, however, is Ivey, who was selected with the fifth overall pick in the 2022 draft.
The former Boilermaker scored 13 points and dished out eight assists in the first half. He left the game after suffering a leg injury and received a technical foul for hitting the ball up court. He came back in the fourth quarter and finished the night with 23 points, 10 assists and five rebounds.
The Nets’ lead was cut to four in the third quarter after RJ Hampton hit a deep 3-pointer, scoring the team’s previous 14 points. He scored 18 points in the third quarter and finished with his career-high 27 points, five rebounds and two assists.
The win moves the Nets 1.5 games ahead of the Miami Heat, who are sitting in the seventh seed in the East. The Heat were off Wednesday and will play the Philadelphia 76ers on the road.
The Nets are mathematically out of the fifth seed as there is no scenario in Brooklyn’s favor to move on to the No. 5 Knicks.
So the main focus for the Nets is to secure one more win and the sixth seed. The Nets will also clinch the last guaranteed postseason spot with a Heat loss.
Brooklyn’s last two games will be played at Barclays Center. The penultimate game will be against the Orlando Magic on Friday, then MVP candidate Joel Embiid and the Sixers arrive in Brooklyn on Sunday.