In case any doubt lingered about the Nets' lackluster effort during the season's last few games, New Jersey removed any doubt with a 90-83 loss to the Knicks at home. Of course, Lawrence Frank rested his stars to the point that the quartet of Vince Carter, Nenad Krstic, Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson totaled just 18 minutes. All belonged to Jefferson. Jacque Vaughn led the team with 15 points, and the not-even-trying Nets almost came from behind to beat the Knicks.
More important than the game is the Nets' first-round playoff matchup against Indiana that begins Sunday afternoon in New Jersey. Two things concern Gothamist about the matchup: Pacers coach Rick Carlisle and forward Jermaine O'Neal. New Jersey's backcourt should be able to handle Indiana's injury plagued one (Jamaal Tinsley's hurt), but Krstic and the Nets will have their hands full down low. Carlisle's teams play intelligent basketball, so the Nets won't cruise. They should win, just not easily.