No Livingston: Shaun Livingston will miss his second straight game because of a sprained right big toe. Livingston has set career highs for both games and total minutes played this season, so it comes as no surprise that Nets coach Jason Kidd is giving him some rest before the playoffs begin. Everyone is expected to be available, Kidd told reporters, but it wouldn’t be surprising if that changed before tipoff. Rest for a veteran-laden team, particularly before the playoffs begin, is very important.
Games of note: The Toronto Raptors (46-33) can clinch the Atlantic Division title with a win or a Nets loss. The Chicago Bulls (46-33) can clinch home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a win or a Nets loss. Toronto hosts the New York Knicks, while Chicago hosts the Detroit Pistons. Brooklyn’s magic number to clinch the No. 5 seed in the East is 2.
Sixth-seeded Charlotte (40-38) is in Boston, while seventh-seeded Washington (40-38) is in Orlando. If the Nets win and both those teams lose, that would do it. Standingswise, the Nets are three games back of both Toronto and Chicago and three games ahead of both Charlotte and Washington with four games remaining. All four teams currently hold the tiebreaker over Brooklyn (43-35).
The Nets are 2-0 against the eighth-seeded Hawks this season. Atlanta’s magic number to clinch the final playoff spot is 2. The Knicks will be rooting for the Nets.
Milestone: Paul Pierce, who sat out Wednesday night’s loss because of a right hip pointer, is just five points shy of becoming the 18th player in NBA history -- and fourth active player -- to score 25,000 career points.