The Brooklyn Nets lost a winnable game on Thursday night in Miami. One that put them down 0-2 in a SemiFinals playoff series against LeBron James and the two-time defending champs. The morning after, everyone is talking about Deron Williams' scoreless performance, in which he shot 0-of-9 from the floor and failed to get to the free-throw line, marking the first time in 60 career playoff games that Williams was held scoreless.
Now, the Nets head home to the Barclays Center where they beat the Heat twice during the regular season and carried a 15-game home winning streak in the second half of this season. Brooklyn won 28 games at Barclays this year, plus two home playoff wins in three tries against the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs. This puts the Nets in two must-win situations over the next four nights, where they have to, realistically, win both home games if they want to win the series.
It won't, however, be easy. Especially if they can't find a way to get Deron Williams, and to a lesser -- but still important extent -- Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce right.
Historically speaking, the numbers are most certainly not in Brooklyn's favor. According to WhoWins.com, the team trailing 0-2 in a 7-game SemiFinals series loses the series 92.5 percent of the time (49-4). Game 3 in a 7-game series is won by the home team just 37.7 percent of the time (20-33). Of course, if it gets to 3-0 in favor of the Heat, teams in NBA Semis are 27-0 when holding a three-zip lead. Pack it up, goodnight.
Brooklyn has played six games against the Heat this season and they're no strangers to what the Heat will throw at them, and certainly expect LeBron James to come into Brooklyn with the "big stage" in mind, so neither team will be caught off guard or befuddled by sets and adjustments. It will be about execution. Deron Williams needs to play like an All-Star, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will have to play this "this is why they got (them) here," and Jason Kidd will have to coach as if he has his feet under him and not as if he's trying to discover a yet-to-be found secret to successfully knocking off The King.
It's execution, it's effort, it's heads up, shoulders back, posturing for your NBA lives and the respect of the Brooklyn fans. It's as "simple" as that.
No, the series isn't over yet, but, "Hello, Urgency!", it certainly feels like we're getting too damn close to submitting our fishing permits for the summer.
If only there was a way to turn the calendar year over in early May. Hmm. Mr. Prokhorov, any thoughts? Or, how about, just execute on the basketball court. For 48 minutes, play like you belong and deserve to be there. After all, this is the series you wanted, right? So, play like it.
- Can Deron Williams handle the Heat? - Max Weisberg - The Brooklyn Game