BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Kyrie Irving and Al Horford will miss Saturday night’s game between the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets.

After both Irving and Horford played 3-5 minutes at Friday night’s 114-112 success in Boston on the Indiana Pacers — a triumph which moved Boston into a tie with Indiana for fourth place at the Eastern Conference standings with seven games to move — the Celtics announced Saturday morning which both Horford (left knee soreness) and Irving (spine pain ) could sit. The Celtics also stated that Jayson Tatum is questionable with an illness.

Boston’s two players sitting out is a potential blessing for the Nets, that are distressed for any success in the middle of what’s easily the toughest closing stretch in the whole league. Coming off a seven-game roadtrip that saw Brooklyn face five playoff clubs, Saturday marks the launch of a six-game closing stretch which sees that the Nets face six clubs now in the play offs: the Celtics, the Milwaukee Bucks (twice)and also the Toronto Raptors, the Pacers and the Miami Heat — a game in Brooklyn on the final day of the entire year which very well can possibly be a play-in game for you personally, or both, teams.

The First start Saturday in seventh place with a 38-38 document, a half-game behind the Detroit Pistons in sixth and also a half-game ahead of the Heat at eighth. Even the Orlando Magic are another half-game behind heat in ninth, as the Charlotte Hornets are now two games back of eighth after losing to the LosAngeles Lakers Friday night.

Boston, meanwhile, holds a 2-1 edge in the season series with Indiana, going for the present edge in the race to get fourth, also it home-court advantage once both teams all but surely confront one another at the Eastern Conference playoffs in a couple of weeks. Boston’s triumph Friday night meant that race could all but certainly be decided next Friday, if the Pacers host the Celtics at Indianapolis at the final meeting of the season between both teams.

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