Game 4: Nets look to avoid the broom against the Celtics

48 minutes 48 minutes before the Brooklyn Nets extend their season one more night or see everything they ever dreamed of go up in flames. On Saturday night, they got a chance to get back into this first-round series with the Boston Celtics. The crowd was fired up and ready to rip the roof off Barclays Center. Unfortunately for the home crowd, the team didn’t arrive on time and lost another one, this time by six points. They’re down 3-0 and it looks like a dream season is turning into a nightmare.

Read about Game Three from our friends at CelticsBlog here.

where to follow the game

YES Network and TNT on TV. WFAN on the radio. Council after 7:30.

injuries

Not Joe Harris. We thought that Ben Simmons would make his debut, but that won’t happen after all. More on that momentarily.

All clear for the C’s.

The game

Surprisingly, the odds are in the Nets’ favor for this one. It’s tough to sweep teams, so maybe the Nets have one more push left.

Steve Nash and the coaching staff made a rotation change and included Blake Griffin in the lineup for a few minutes on Saturday night. He worked wonderfully as he knocked down some 3-pointers, played his heart out and gave the fans a lot to cheer for. We’ll see if BG will be back on the court tonight. Andre Drummond hasn’t had a good series and Nic Claxton can’t play 48 minutes, so maybe Griffin will come back. For Drummond in particular, when he’s on the court, he HAS to wipe the boards. He only grabbed three rebounds in 15 minutes, and that’s not enough. The Nets need more from him and when he’s on the court, he has to clean the boards. and don’t do this

Eek. If Griffin is back on the court and can help space things out, that could give the Nets more room to work.

Hey, the Time Lord is back! Robert Williams returned from his knee injury much sooner than expected and looked pretty solid in his 15 minutes of action on the court. Williams takes an elite Celtics defense and makes it even more daunting. The Nets have had some success on the occasions they’ve targeted Daniel Theis, but they’ve been few and far between. Having a guy like Williams who can finish well at the rim opens up another option for Ime Udoka’s offense, and that’s one more problem the Nets have to solve.

In general, the Nets don’t tell us anything or just lie when they say something. They keep things close to the vest, and that is their right. However, when things get crazy, the swashbuckling routine ends up pissing people off. And with that, we have to talk about Ben Simmons.

From all the available reports and even from the man himself, Simmons was a safe bet to debut in this series, but that won’t happen as his back problems resurfaced. Throughout the process, the Nets said he needed to pass multiple tests, multiple practices, step up, do some work with the prep group, full 5-on-5 practices, etc. etc. etc. We all thought he would come back. , but ouch.

Simmons never seeing the court is a bust on every level. When James Harden quit the Nets and made his way to the Philadelphia 76ers, getting something back for him was important, but getting someone who could help now and fill in the gaps on the team was even more important. Seth Curry has been a wonderful Net and has done an admirable job since he got here and Drummond has been pretty good, but the headliner was Simmons. Simmons was supposed to be the last piece that would allow the Nets to finally be the best version of themselves in 2021-2022. At that time, I wrote:

And most importantly, they get a star in Ben Simmons who can propel the team, solve their rebounding issues and change up the defense, as well as give them a star who can be a part of their future.

Curry explained it best:

“A big, long body defensively, protects all five positions, hopefully provides some pace, rebounding and transition play, and some play and physicality.”

Simmons would have solved just about every problem that has come up in this series for the Nets. With the Nets on the verge of being swept, his absence looms even larger and is the perfect lead for another offseason of uncertainty in Brooklyn. For some, playing someone who has been out when the team is down 3-0 would be foolish or bad practice. I understand his logic, but to hell with that. If he’s healthy, ready to contribute and not at risk of further injury, then he should play in the playoffs.

The Nets have spent the entire year biding their time until the playoffs, and now that they’re where they wanted to be all along, they’re about to be unceremoniously eliminated. This entire season should cause the organization to reflect on: how they communicate injuries and deadlines to the fan base, how seriously they take the regular season, accountability, roster building and maximizing their strengths. financial, what future they see themselves building, etc. it leads you to re-evaluate everything, so we’ll see where the road takes us from here.

The playoffs are when all your regular-season habits show, and for the Nets, that means incredibly dumb turnovers. The Nets fumbled him 18 times in Game 3 and Boston got 37 points from those turnovers. Playoff series are won on the sidelines, and Brooklyn has lost on the sidelines in every game. They just haven’t taken care of the rock and it has bitten their butts over and over again. And to make matters worse, his turnovers are live turnovers that have led to easy buckets from Boston. If you want to achieve the impossible, you have to start there.

In the post-game, Blake Griffin had this to say:

If and when things blow up around here, that date will DEFINITELY be something we think about.

When Kyrie Irving goes downhill, good things happen. When he’s forced to settle for tough jump shots, the Nets’ offense gets stuck in the mud and they can’t look good. Irving went 0-7 from 3-point range on Saturday night and has cooled down after an incredible G1. He hasn’t made a three in two games and since the outside game doesn’t work, you have to find a way to do it near the rim. A lot of that is down to space, and that might be where a few tweaks to the lineup could help you get more looks. When he gets those open stares and advantageous matchups, he has to take advantage of all of them. You have to make the most of any opportunity that comes your way.

Player to watch: Jayson Tatum

Tatum has done everything you can ask of your franchise player. He made timely plays, tried his best and played defense. After the game, he mentioned that there are some things the team can still be better at, and I think turnovers might be what he’s hinting at. Tatum was unbelievable on Saturday, but he delivered six times, tying a career playoff high.

When your superstar is playing at the standard level, your team will go far. When they are not, you are at the bottom of the hole. Kevin Durant just hasn’t been able to figure out this Celtics defense and time is running out. In our G3 preview, we noted that KD continuously hitting the open man instead of forcing him would help the Nets’ offense. For one thing, he dished out eight assists. On the other, he turned it around five times and took just 11 shots from the field in 47 minutes. He talked about it in the post-match and said:

“So I felt like my approach to his game was to take everyone on, play in the flow of the offense and let the ball move and find me and that’s how I ended up, I mean I felt like I was making solid reads. I felt like we had a good flow, I probably should have made more shots, but I just tried to play the game the right way without being too aggressive or forcing turnovers, and I didn’t want anyone playing a live ball. in one out at the top. I’m overthinking, to be honest, this whole series.”

In any setting, once you start overthinking, it’s hard to stop. You start to wonder what you need to do to get things back to normal, how to find your rhythm and see ghosts that aren’t there. Once you’re in, you need to pause, recollect your thoughts, and get back to doing what you’re good at.

For Durant, he’ll try to strike the right balance between making the right basketball play and getting his shot, tough defense be damned. The 11 field goal attempts were the fewest he has had in a playoff game since April 24, 2017 as a member of the Golden State Warriors against the Portland Trail Blazers, and KD didn’t even play in the 4th of that game. . With the Nets about to be eliminated at home, Durant will get one more chance to crack the code that is the Boston Celtics’ defense. If he goes down, he goes down fighting.

from the trunk

Snowfall wrapped up season five last week, blasting out “In the Air Tonight” in one of the series’ most dramatic moments. The song is perfect anytime, so what better time than the present to run this jam?

Further reading: CelticsBlog

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