Returning to our 3-on-3 format, myself, Justin and Jared Dubin from HardwoodParoxysm.com will talk about tonight’s game. Feel free to use this thread as a venting platform. We’ll definitely need it.
1. What can the Nets do to keep this one close?
- Chris Hooker: Try really, really hard to win. That’s about all you can do going against this juggernaut of a basketball team. The Nets needed D-Will to score 57 points to beat the Bobcats on Sunday, and play like that from the supporting cast will not get it done against Miami. Deron is going to have to play pass-first point guard in the beginning, and do everything he can to get his teammates involved. As soon as they prove that they are ineffective, he’s got to take over the game.
- Justin DeFeo: After exercising all non-conventional ideas such as praying or begging for mercy, the options get pretty fleeting. Obviously the Nets have to somehow keep this game relatively low-scoring, so controlling tempo is going to be critical. With Deron Williams being an All-Star caliber point guard, tempo control may not be out of the realm of possibility, but it will certainly be a tall task.
- Jared Dubin: Limit their turnovers. Miami is one of the best teams in the league in the open floor, especially when it comes to turning the opposition’s miscues into made baskets. The Nets don’t have nearly the talent level on their roster that the Heat does, so they can’t be giving up opportunities for free transition points.
2. Which of the “Big 3” will give the Nets the least amount of trouble?
- Chris Hooker: Chris Bosh is going to be the only one with a match-up he could potentially lose, so I will go with him. Bosh is coming back from some time off and will be going up against the 7th best rebounder in the country in Kris Humphries. It’s definitely a possibility that Hump could come out with a big game tonight.
- Justin DeFeo: By default I’ll choose Chris Bosh. First of all he’s coming off of an injury, so hopefully there is a little bit of rust to his lanky frame. Second of all, he’s the least capable of the three and the fact that the Nets are most thin at the wing spots, I fear for what LeBron James and Dwayne Wade will do when unleashed onto our cast of non-productive characters.
- Jared Dubin: Chris Bosh, and not just because it’s his first game back with the game after a shot absence to attend his grandmother’s funeral. The Nets just don’t have the athletes to deal with LeBron James or Dwyane Wade at the 2 or 3. Power forward Kris Humphries may not be a fan favorite due to his personal life off the court, but he’s a terrific rebounder and his strength on the interior could give the much slighter Bosh some problems. Hump had 25 and 12 the last time these two teams met. I don’t expect him to have quite that big a game, but he should have a strong showing.
3. And the winner is…
- Chris Hooker: The Nets are coming off a win streak against great teams, but I’ll be pretty blown away if they somehow manage a win tonight. The Heat are just too top-heavy and too fast to let the Nets hang in for a win. And without Brook Lopez (ugh), who is going to score besides Deron Williams?
- Justin DeFeo:The Nets have proven in the past they can beat elite teams, but I would relatively shocked if the Nets are somehow able to pull off an upset against the NBA’s best tonight. Although we do have Deron Williams…
- Jared Dubin: The Heat. This one probably won’t be too close either. The “FLYING DEATH MACHINE,” as my boss at HP calls them, should be able to smother Deron Williams on the pick-and-roll and take away his options due to the lack of surrounding talent the Nets have on the court. Last time these two teams played, Williams was harassed into a 4-for-16 shooting performance on his way to just 10 points. Without Brook Lopez to draw attention away from him, Williams could similarly struggle tonight. Without Williams at the top of his game, the Nets don’t stand much of a chance.