After 81 games, the Brooklyn Nets can control their own playoff position Sunday afternoon, even if it is not necessarily where they were projected to be when the marathon regular season began in October.

The Nets look to secure the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference when they host the Indiana Pacers.

Brooklyn (43-38) has the same record as the Cleveland Cavaliers but own the head-to-head tiebreaker after getting it done in the fourth quarter of Friday’s 118-107 victory over the Cavs.

If the Nets clinch seventh, they will only need to win a play-in game at home to advance into the main draw of the postseason.

“Every game that we play, I feel like it’s a must-win,” Brooklyn guard Kyrie Irving said. “We want to give our best effort. So we just want to come here with that same mentality that, ‘Hey, let’s put our best foot forward and put our best effort out there So we feel good about it.'”

The Nets can feel really good about their past two fourth quarters as they displayed performances often required to win postseason games.

On Wednesday, the Nets erased a 21-point deficit and held the New York Knicks without a field goal for the final 7:10 of the fourth quarter in a 110-98 triumph. Then after the Nets blew an early 17-point lead on Friday, they outscored Cleveland 35-19 in the fourth quarter, winning by ending the game on a 24-14 run.

Kevin Durant scored 36 points, including the go-ahead basket as all five Brooklyn scorers finished in double figures. Bruce Brown had 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, and Seth Curry continued to play through a left ankle injury to contribute 12.

“That’s just been the nature of our season,” Durant said. “Just getting knocked down and seeing how we respond, and I thought tonight was a good example of how we can respond.”

The three other teams jockeying for play-in seeding are all playing at the same time. Cleveland hosts the Milwaukee Bucks while Atlanta is visiting the Houston Rockets and Charlotte is visiting Washington.

Indiana (25-56), meantime, is closing out its worst season since 1984-85, when the Pacers went 22-60. They are assured of their third-worst season in 55 years in the NBA or ABA.

Another loss would conclude the season on a 10-game losing streak. They allowed 55.6 percent shooting in Saturday afternoon’s 133-120 loss at the Philadelphia 76ers. That marked the ninth straight time Indiana allowed at least 120 points.

Oshae Brissett scored 20 points and Tyrese Haliburton had 19 as the Pacers were without Malcolm Brogdon (sore back) in a game that occurred two days after Rick Carlisle denied reports that he was seeking a front office role.

“I’m here to coach this team,” Carlisle told reporters. “I’m here to coach this team for the long haul if they’ll have me. I’m not afraid of any aspect of a rebuild one single bit, not one bit.”

Brooklyn owns a pair of single-digit victories over the Pacers and is seeking its seventh straight win over Indiana. The Nets rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit for a 129-121 win in Indiana on Jan. 5 when Irving scored 22 points in his season debut.

–Field Level Media