Don’t blame the supporting cast when the Nets blow this series

Kevin Durant (l.) and Kyrie Irving

Kevin Durant (l.) and Kyrie Irving
Photo: beautiful pictures

“If Kyrie and KD are averaging 30 and 35 points per game, that’s just 65 points. Where will the rest of the points come from? ”

I heard several versions of this happening a few times before the start of the Brooklyn Nets’ first series against the Boston Celtics. It seems like people really believe that if Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant played one of the best basketballs of their lives, the other seven to nine NBA players on the Nets’ roster wouldn’t be able to walk up the stairs. and put the ball in the rim.

In fact, the people playing the role of the Nets are what makes this series so competitive. Brooklyn beat the Celtics 3-0 and will likely lose this series on Monday or Wednesday. However, since Durant is having his worst playoff since his rookie year, 2010 – when the Oklahoma City Thunder lost to eventual NBA champion the Los Angeles Lakers in six games – it’s the player’s role has started to decline for the Nets, while Durant and Irving have yet to get the job done late into the game.

Irving was spectacular in Game 1 against the Celtics. He attacks all hostility – no matter what he like to call it – in TD Garden and unstoppable for nearly the entire game, scoring 39 points on the 60/60/100 shooting division. However, with Durant scoring 23 points while shooting only 38% from the field as the Celtics cornered him in pressure all day, the Nets’ remaining 114 points must have come from somewhere.

The key contributors to this game are Goran Dragić and Nic Claxton. They add up for 27 points on a 63.1 percent spin. While Andre Drummond has started every game for this Nets series – and also played well in Game 1 – it was Claxton who controlled the paint for more than 30 minutes. He did damage there, with eight rebounds and three blocks along with his 13 points. Claxton has been a force in all series, and Steve Nash’s decision not to start him was one of the criticisms he received for his coaching in this first round.

Dragić is a grizzly veteran at the point of guard. The 35-year-old, one-time star has played most of the playoffs with the Miami Heat. The Nets picked him up, after he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs, and bought out his contract. In game 1 against Boston, Dragić was brought on from the bench as a steady stream of momentum for the Nets right away, as well as another dribbler – something some believe the Nets didn’t have. on their list after Durant and Irvng. Dragić gave them the 26 minutes they needed in the first half, and was a reliable third-handling threat in every game – although it is doubtful he played only eight minutes yesterday.

The Nets best player in this series is Bruce Brown. The 25-year-old forward has averaged 24.6 minutes per game this season. In this first series, he averaged 36 and a half minutes per game. His energy and defense were much needed by the Nets in Game 1, but in Game 2 and 3 he did better than anyone could reasonably expect from nine points. every one of his games this season.

He has established individual playoff career heights in consecutive games. When Irving’s performance returned to normal in Game 2 with 10 points on 30.8% shot, and Durant had to live on the free-throw line to score 27 points because he shot an unbelievable 23.5% from the field. , Brown scored 23 points, eight rebounds, and four assists on the 66.7 / 75/100 shooting division. Additionally, his defense has helped keep both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum under 25 points, and Tatum to 19 points with 31.3% on the pitch. Dragić came back strong, even without an assist, with 18 points on 57.1 percent of the shot and a sly Seth Curry giving the Nets four points of 3 and 16.

Brown took the lead again yesterday with a career-high 26 playoff points. Not only did he lead the Nets in scoring, he also led them in scoring attempts with 19 and played 40 minutes while still shooting 52.6% from the field. Durant, one of the best scorers in NBA history, made just 11 goals in a must-win game.

It was a desperate attempt by the Nets to win at home, with Patty Mills having his best of the game with 4/5 3-pointers, Steve Nash even putting Blake Griffin on the pitch. minutes in the fourth round. . Griffin hit three shots in a row and provided them with a solid defence. No matter what, in the fourth they failed to reduce the deficit by less than five points.

Even if the Nets are wiped out by the Celtics, as a team they should be proud. Not as well as Durant and Irving have played for most of this series – a lot of credit to the Celtics’ defense for that – the maligned players in this series have kept the Nets in all three games. Not bad for the players that some have talked about they won’t be able to score any points in this series.

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