Drummond: Nets’ final two games are ‘must-win’

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    Nick FriedellESPN Staff Writer

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      Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

NEW YORK — As the Brooklyn Nets prepare for their final two regular-season games of the season, they do so in control of their own playoff destiny.

If the Nets — currently seeded eighth in the Eastern Conference with a 42-38 record — win their final two games, they will lock up the seventh seed and would host the East’s first play-in game next Tuesday night. Veteran center Andre Drummond left no doubt where his team’s mindset is heading into Friday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers — the team that sits one slot ahead of the Nets.

” I think they’re must win games for us,” Drummond stated after Friday’s shootaround. “I believe we know what lies ahead of us, and we know what will happen if these two games are won. I believe our sense of urgency has increased a bit from the past and we are ready to take the next step. “

The Nets, who have dealt with a variety of injuries, a teamwide COVID-19 outbreak in December and Kyrie Irving‘s part-time status from January to March because of his decision not to get the COVID vaccine, remain confident that they can still catch the rhythm they need to make a long run in the postseason.

“If we’re playing well heading into the play-in game, then those two games take care of itself and we should win ’em,” guard Seth Curry said. “But if our play isn’t good, we won’t get out of the game anyway.” It’s all about [playing] how we play, confidence and playing our best basketball. “

Both Drummond and Curry have been solid since being dealt, along with Ben Simmons and two future first round picks, to the Nets in a trade-deadline deal that sent James Harden and Paul Millsap to the Philadelphia 76ers. Despite Simmons’s absence from the Nets due to a back injury, Brooklyn is still confident that they can win the title this year.

” I think everyone’s mindset at the beginning of this year is to win a championship,” Drummond stated. “I think this team has a special group, and anything is possible. It’s the NBA at end of the day. Anything is possible.

” We just have to be positive and put our best foot forward, so that we can win. That mindset is common for everyone. We are trying to be true to ourselves and make things happen. For Curry, this means continuing to suffer from pain in his left leg. After missing the past two games, Curry scored 15 points and hit three 3-pointers in Wednesday’s 110-98 win over the New York Knicks. Curry stated that his ankle injury was “almost the same”. Curry said that he was just trying to manage the injury and that he got through it. It’s just a daily management thing. I want to get the season through and into the playoffs. I will give the team everything I can. I feel like Tiger can shoot 1 under yesterday at Augusta, so I can take some pain for the remainder of the season. “

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