Right now the Brooklyn Nets would play the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs. But the Nets sit just three wins behind the New York Knicks, and mathematically can still capture the fifth seed, setting up a 4/5 matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers. A first-round matchup that a recent report says the Cavs are secretly hoping for. The Nets may be devoid of superstar talent after parting ways with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving at the trade deadline, but Nets starting center Nic Claxton wants the masses to know that Brooklyn is ready to take on anybody.
“I heard something like that, too. I don’t know if they think it’s sweet, but we’ll match up with anybody,” Claxton said of the Cavs wanting to face the Nets in playoffs to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
“We just try to take it game by game, win as many games as we can, and get as high a seed as possible. If that’s our matchup, then we’ll take care of it.”
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Spencer Dinwiddie Gets Honest About the Cavaliers
The Cavs clamoring for a first-round bout with the Nets is disrespectful, to put it bluntly. Their roster may be devoid of an All-Star, but the Nets have shown they can hang with the NBA’s cream of the crop after wins over the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics in March. Still, Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie can understand why it’s something the Cavs would want.
“If I had the choice of playing a team that just got put together three weeks ago versus playing Giannis [Antetokounmpo], or something of that nature…I mean, I think that’d be the most logical answer you could give,” Dinwiddie said to reporters via NetsDaily. “So, I don’t think it’s bulletin board material.”
The report that Dinwiddie and Claxton are referring to comes from Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Fedor notes that the Cavs are “privately hoping” for a matchup with the Nets and believes it’s “easy to understand why” they would.
“No one inside the organization would say this publicly — and they shouldn’t. But multiple people I’ve spoken to recently are privately hoping for a Brooklyn matchup,” Fedor writes.,“It’s easy to understand why. Even though the Cavs, with home-court advantage, would likely be capable of competing — and possibly winning — a seven-game series against any of the teams currently behind them in the standings, the Nets would be Cleveland’s easiest path out of round one.”
Nic Claxton Sounds off on Jarrett Allen
Claxton has gradually improved since he entered the league. But this season he has leaped into being one of the top starting centers in the NBA. He is averaging career highs in nearly every statistical category and is among the top contenders for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
But as good as Claxton has been during the regular season, the playoffs are where stars are born and legends are made. And a first round matchup with the Cavaliers in the postseason would allow him to face off with All-Star center Jarrett Allen. A matchup the Nets center says is “always good” for him.
“That’s always a good matchup for me. I’ve been having battles against him since I’ve been in the league,” Claxton told reporters pre-game via NetsDaily.
“Practice, training camp, you know? What he does on the court speaks for itself; he’s an elite rim protector and finishes around the rim. I just got to be the best version of myself.”