Brooklyn … Brooklyn … Those chants have a deafening effect in Barclays Center. It’s more raucous than Fatman Scoop screaming “where Brooklyn at,” during the neighborhood block party. For the first time in their series against the Miami Heat, the Brooklyn Nets got a win. Now they’re hoping a 14-point win in Game 3 will blare enough to send a message.
Don’t hold your breath.
General manager Billy King built the Brooklyn Nets to move like a premium contender, and for the majority of the season they have sputtered and stumbled. Only half of their regular season play was commensurate with the talent on their roster. After they kicked the Toronto Raptors out of the first round, Nets fans shouldn’t get their hopes too high. There’s no chance they’ll hand the Miami Heat their walking papers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Nets veteran forward Paul Pierce can try to ruffle LeBron James’ and the Heat’s mental feathers all he wants. There’s nothing stopping a meteor like the Heat, and that’s not to say they’re indestructible. It’s just going to take more firepower than the Nets currently possess.
Although the Nets swept the Heat 4-0 in the regular season, that doesn’t mean a thing in the playoffs. The NBA postseason is a different animal, and Brooklyn’s experiencing that first hand.
Speaking of beasts … In Game 3, James drove to the hoop in Miami Dolphins fashion and scored despite a flagrant foul (which was reversed after review) from Paul Pierce. That sums up LeBron’s drive, and it’s a fire that’s unmatched by most individual players in the NBA. It’s passion combined with the strength to act that is missing from the Nets locker room.
With no intent to take away from an impressive game three performance on their home court, the fact is Brooklyn did exactly what they were supposed to do – win at home. Overshadowing the win is the fact that the Nets aren’t getting enough production from their starting five. No player in Brooklyn’s starting squad has scored more than 20 points in this series.
They can’t win that way, and three games deep into this series that’s not a statistical aberration – it’s reality. A few factors contributed to the Nets first win of the series, however they’re so insignificant there’s no reason to count on them turning the tide.
Joe Johnson has come the closest to breaking the 20-point lid for Brooklyn, and despite having a favorable series versus the Toronto Raptors, he’s currently moving at the same pace of play. That won’t get it done against the defending champions.
Sorry, but Andray Blatche is not the answer Brooklyn needs either, and the Heat aren’t concerned with his Game 3 career playoff highs of 15 points and 10 rebounds. In three regular-season appearances against the Heat his high was 11 points. Don’t expect head coach Erik Spoelstra to draw up any defensive schemes to stop Blatche any time soon.
The Nets aren’t going to hit 15 3-pointers in a game again (their season average is nine), although I’d take those odds over LeBron James being held to 12 points in the final three quarters of Game 4. Miami has gone a perfect 12-0 in postseason play when holding a 2-0 series advantage, and more important – they’ve notched 18 playoff road wins since the 2011, the most in the NBA.
What it all boils down to is the fact that Brooklyn got their win at home. That’s what they were supposed to do. Expect Miami to finish them off in the next two games.