On a night the Brooklyn Nets picked up their best victory in weeks, they were still reminded how far they've fallen this season. Brooklyn earned a hard-fought 115-111 win over the Indiana Pacers Wednesday at Barclays Center. However, with the Atlanta Hawks defeating the Detroit Pistons and clinching the Eastern Conference's final play-in spot, they were officially eliminated from playoff contention.

The letdown campaign snaps a five-year streak of Brooklyn qualifying for the playoffs.

Despite the end of their postseason hopes, the Nets battled against a playoff-caliber Pacers squad before an energetic crowd. Mikal Bridges said they'll continue to show that level of fight with five games remaining on the schedule.

“I mean, we all care about each other. At the end of the day, you get paid to play 82 games, so no matter what the outcome is,  you should go out there and play hard every night,” Bridges said. “So that's how I look at it… You play hard and keep learning, keep sticking together, keep playing together and just try to find ugly wins.”

Sean Marks' midseason change doesn't produce results

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks speaks during a press conference before a game against the New York Knicks at Barclays Center
© Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

General Manager Sean Marks said he expected to see “movement” toward a playoff birth after firing Jacque Vaughn and promoting Kevin Ollie to interim head coach at the All-Star break. The only movement the Nets saw was a continued freefall down the standings.

Since the coaching change, Brooklyn has posted a 9-14 record, ranking 24th in offense and 13th in defense. Despite the lack of team success, Cam Thomas commended the job Ollie has done.

“I mean, there’s only so much you can do after the All-Star break,” Thomas said. “You can’t really change too much. We’re already 55 games in and there’s not much you can really change because that will be a tough thing to do. But I feel like what he’s had to deal with and what the situation brought, he’s done an amazing job.”

Brooklyn Nets shift late-season focus toward development

With the playoffs officially out of the picture, the Nets will continue a shift in focus toward development. That had already begun in recent weeks, with rookies Noah Clowney and Jalen Wilson receiving extended playing time.

Clowney turned in a breakout performance vs. Indiana, posting a season-high 22 points and 10 rebounds (five offensive) on 7-of-9 shooting from the field, 3-of-4 from three, and 5-of-7 from the free-throw line. At 19 years old, the 21st overall pick is the youngest Net to score 20 points in a game since Cliff T. Robinson in 1979.

Wilson had a quiet night but drained two free throws with seven seconds remaining to ice the game.

Brooklyn will host a back-to-back against the Detroit Pistons and Sacramento Kings this weekend before closing the season against the Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks, and Philadelphia 76ers. And while Ollie is more than likely entering his final week as head coach, he said his expectations will not change.

“I haven't talked about the Hawks. We're trying to build championship character. We're trying to build competitive character,” he said. “And that's just taking care of one another and just competing no matter what the outcome is. I just told you, I don't worry about the outcome. I worry about figuring it out, and that's what a competitor does.

“No matter if you're in it, you're out of it, it doesn't matter because you get another opportunity to put on a Brooklyn jersey. And that's all that matters. And that's how we have to play. We have to play hard. We have to play aggressive. And it's going to take all of us to play a great game. And that's what we did tonight.”