Here’s the clincher? The Nets (38-33) can clinch a playoff spot on Sunday with a win and a New York Knicks’ loss in Golden State. Brooklyn trails the Chicago Bulls (40-32) by 1.5 games for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff standings and trails the Toronto Raptors (41-34) by 2.5 games in the Atlantic Division. Toronto plays in Orlando and Chicago plays in Boston. Translation: the Nets have the toughest challenge and need to win in order to (likely) keep pace, assuming the Raptors and Bulls take care of business against inferior opponents.
Injury update: Kevin Garnett (back) and Andrei Kirilenko (ankle) will not play. Garnett will be missing his 16th straight game, while Kirilenko will be missing his fourth game in a row. Nets coach Jason Kidd is expected to give a medical update on each player prior to Sunday night’s game.
Love that guy: Kevin Love, whose future has been the talk of the NBA recently, leads the Wolves (36-35). Love is averaging a ridiculous 26.3 points and 12.6 rebounds on 46.3 percent shooting. Love is a matchup nightmare for the Nets because of his size and ability to crash the boards. As has been the case with 7-footer Dirk Nowitzki, it’s going to have to be a team effort defensively.