Nets Set to Benefit From Update on Knicks Star Julius Randle: Report

Brooklyn Nets

Getty Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks.

Things got a little bit easier for the Brooklyn Nets in their pursuit of a guaranteed playoff spot.

“The excitement over [the New York Knicks’] win over the [Miami] Heat also was tempered by the ankle injury suffered by All-Star forward Julius Randle,” explains Peter Botte for the New York Post on March 30, adding Randle is “expected to be out for the remainder of the regular season and possibly the start of the playoffs on April 15 after the team announced he will be re-evaluated in two weeks.”

New York has won their last two outings but is just 5-5 over their last 10 games as star point guard Jalen Brunson has been in and out of the lineup.

In his absence, Randle has had to carry the load amid a bounce-back campaign.

He has yet to miss a game this season as he has already made his most appearances in a single season since 2017-18 when he saw action in all 82.

“The Knicks were believed to have reduced their magic number to clinch a playoff berth to one with Wednesday night’s gritty win over the Heat,” notes Botte, “but there remains a small mathematical chance they could wind up in the play-in tournament. … Even with another victory Friday night over the Cavaliers, the Knicks still could potentially finish in a three-way tie with the Nets and the Heat for spots 5-7 in the Eastern Conference, and wind up dropping to seventh place due to the complicated tiebreaker system.”

Brooklyn is just two games behind New York in the loss column for the fifth seed. They will not face their in-state rival again in the regular season but have a significantly easier remaining schedule, per Tankathon.

A complete slide into the Play-In Tournament remains unlikely as long as Brunson can stay available which has not been a given as he’s managed a foot injury. But two games are hardly an insurmountable obstacle for even this hodgepodge cast of Nets.

They have to seize the opportunity, though.

Nets Still Figuring Things Out

“There’s no excuse for how we played the first 40 minutes of the game really,” forward Cameron Johnson told reporters via the Nets’ YouTube channel after Brooklyn needed to rally to beat the now 18-59 Houston Rockets on March 29. “But it’s on us to be better and I think we were able to clean it up and come out of this one with a win.”

Johnson set a new high for his Nets career with 31 points and connected on five threes for the second time in the last three games.

He has also been vocal about the team’s ceiling and their struggles to reach it.

The Nets have won two of their last three outings adding to the optimism that they can make one last push out of the Play-In Tournament. But they had lost five straight games before that, erasing their remaining cushion built up pre-trade deadline.

Former Nets Reminisce Fondly on Old Times

Brooklyn can thank their former stars – Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving – for staking them to enough of a lead to keep pace with the Knicks to this point. And for bringing back enough talent in their respective trades to make a push possible. Both players have come out with perhaps different recounts of their time in Brooklyn with Durant wishing them “the best”.

He also noted they “care about their players”.

Irving reiterated his stance from just before he demanded a trade that he wanted to remain a Net at least through the season.

Brooklyn is surely glad to be out from under that cloud of uncertainty even if their ceiling is notably lower now and their future remains just as uncertain, albeit with far more optimism than it was even with the 30-something Durant and Irving.

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