Game 2 has come and gone in the 2014 Eastern Conference Semifinals, and the Brooklyn Nets will leave South Beach down 0-2 with no wins. The Nets have dropped both games by an average margin of 16.5 points (107-86 in Game 1, 94-82 in Game 2). The gameplan starts with head coach Jason Kidd, and he must utilize the depth and experience of his team, leaninng on veterans Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams. Centered around the skills of each of these players, this team still has time to make this a series.
Stretching the floor against the Miami Heat can prove to be a strategic move by the Nets. During Brooklyn’s resurgence during the season in 2014, Kidd played Paul Pierce at the power forward spot and gave heavy minutes to versatile forward Mirza Teletovic. By allowing these players to anchor their starting lineup, Miami would be forced to stick to these shooters and create driving lanes for Williams and Johnson. Teletovic definitely showed a great scoring touch in Game 2, finishing with 20 points including a Nets’ franchise record of six three-pointers. Pierce can also then mix up his game of dribble-driving and find easier shots on the wing.
Get Deron Williams Going Again
Deron Williams could certainly use a shot of confidence, and have some easier shots created for himself, as Brooklyn returns to the Barclays Center. He went scoreless last night, missing all nine of his field goals. Williams snapped a streak of 663 consecutive games where he’s recorded points. While sharing the backcourt with Shaun Livingston, Williams should look to work off the ball by having screens set for him and posting up the smaller Mario Chalmers. In Game 1 he was able to perform efficiently, ending up with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Much of the earnest will still fall on Williams to assert himself at opportune times, but the Nets will look to gauge those chances in Game 3.
Shut Down The Paint
The Heat have lived in the interior during both games this series. The defending NBA champions are averaging 44 points per game in the paint in their two victories. Without Brook Lopez, who suffered a season-ending foot injury in December, the Nets have had trouble keeping LeBron James and Dwyane Wade from high percentage shots. Lopez’s absence takes away from their ability to exploit the Heat on offense, as well. Kevin Garnett and Andray Blatche will have to dig deep and control the boards while using their length to make trips inside difficult for Miami. Even defensive stalwart Andrei Kirilenko must join the party and display toughness that their frontline has yet to show.
Kidd has definitely shown the propensity to make necessary adjustments this year, which resulted in the team climbing the Eastern Conference standings during the regular season. Now the true test is at hand, and the next moves that are made will determine the fate of a team whose mission was to make a run at the NBA title.