Nets push past Cavs, move out of Heat’s half of East playoff bracket; Heat open playoffs 1 p.m. Sunday – The Denver Post
Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets won’t be the Miami Heat’s concern in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
With Tuesday night’s 115-108 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in a play-in game at Barclays Center, the Nets secured the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and will face the No. 2 Boston Celtics in the best-of-seven opening round of the playoffs, starting Sunday at TD Garden.
The Cavaliers fell into Friday’s winner-take-all game for the No. 8 seed against the winner of Wednesday night’s No. 10 Charlotte Hornets at No. 9 Atlanta Hawks. Cleveland will host Friday’s game, with the winner to face the Heat starting Sunday at FTX Arena.
The Heat, in their half of the East bracket, now cannot face the Nets, Celtics, No. 3. Milwaukee Bucks or No. 6 Chicago Bulls until the Eastern Conference finals.
The NBA announced Tuesday that the Heat’s playoff opener will be 1 p.m. Sunday at FTX Arena, against either the Hawks, Hornets or Cavaliers, meaning a quick turnaround for the winner of Friday’s decisive play-in game.
The winner of the Heat’s opening-round series against the Cavaliers, Hawks or Hornets will play the winner of the opening-round series between the No. 4 Philadelphia 76ers and No. 5 Toronto Raptors in the East semifinals.
The Heat have been idle since Sunday’s road loss to the Orlando Magic, resuming practice Wednesday at FTX Arena.
The Heat went 3-1 against the Nets this season, losing the lone game when the Nets had both Irving and Durant available.
Against the Cavaliers, Irving closed with 34 points Tuesday night, Durant 25, with former University of Miami player Bruce Brown adding 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for Brooklyn.
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