Well, that was underwhelming.
After a tense, gritty Game 7 victory against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, the Brooklyn Nets flew to Miami to finally begin the series in the making since last June. Despite solid performances from Joe Johnson and Deron Williams, Brooklyn looked completely outmatched and unwilling to compete with the 2-time defending champions.
1) How did the Nets drop this one?
Justin DeFeo: The Nets did little to win this game; shot poorly, defended poorly, lacked energy, etc. etc. Basically any bad characteristic you can show on a basketball court the Nets showed it tonight.
Ben Nadeau: In a variety of ways. They were outworked in every facet of the game. I try to stay away from cliches, but Miami just unequivocally wanted this game more. For a team that couldn’t stop talking about how badly they wanted the Heat in the playoffs, they sure didn’t play like it.
2) What surprised you in this game?
Justin DeFeo: Seeing Williams, Johnson, Garnett and Pierce glued to the bench for the 4th quarter. I don’t disagree with the decision from Kidd, but certainly surprising to see this game wrapped up after 36 minutes.
Ben Nadeau: I was surprised that Kidd bailed on this game so early. Garnett had his first ever scoreless playoff game and the Nets’ best bench player was Marcus Thornton’s 11 points during garbage time. Presumably, Kidd was trying to give the starters some extra rest, but he gave up on the game earlier than expected. You can’t just give wins to Miami.
But what surprised me the most? Just how uncomfortable the Nets looked playing basketball and how unwilling they were to challenge Miami at the rim, setting for jumper after jumper. If there’s a blueprint towards losing to the Heat in four, that’s it.
3) How can they come back in Game 2?
Justin DeFeo: Protecting the paint and taking care of the ball will at least keep the Nets competitive.
Ben Nadeau: As I wrote in the series preview, the X-Factor would be the Nets’ bench. Unlike Game 7, the bench laid a total egg. And, as a result, Brooklyn got blown out. With players like Chris Anderson and Shane Battier making huge contributions off the bench for Miami, this series could be over in four unless Andray Blatche and Mirza Teletovic bring it in the next few games.
Joe Johnson can’t do it all.
The Nets will be back on the court for Game 2 on Thursday night at 7 P.M.