Joy to the world!
The Nets are here
They’re here, to beat, the Celts!
With loads of Kyrie threes
And post-ups from K Dee-ee-ee
Caris with oops to Fro!
Caris with oops to-oo Fro!
Togeth-errr, they’ll chriiii-sten, TD Gardeeeeen
After beating the living daylights (or should I say Christmas lights?) out of the Golden State Warriors to kick-off the 2020-2021 NBA season, the Nets are looking to continue that holiday cheer and earn themselves a well-deserved present––a gift-wrapped “W” and the chance to remain undefeated. To avoid collecting a lump of coal against the Celtics, Steve Nash wants his guys to remain true to their principles to stay on his good-list, especially on the defensive end.
“I think we can improve in a lot of little technicalities. Whether it’s footwork, positioning, and talking situations. There wasn’t one that stood out in the game (against Golden State) where I was like ‘oh, this is a major theme and problem.’ But there was a little bit of everything there.”
Granted, Nash also called Brooklyn’s defense “pretty solid.” So to explain the quote above, he’s keeping his foot on the gas of that Holiday sleigh. (Okay, I’ll stop with the Christmas references now.)
With regard to the Christmas game itself, Nash showered the conference rival Boston Celtics––fresh off a wire-to-wire victory against the Milwaukee Bucks––with ample praise, stating the Nets will “have their hands full” with Boston’s rotation, stuffed full like a stocking on Christmas morning with young players (Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart) that are more than jolly to create their own shots. (I lied. It appears I won’t be stopping anytime soon.)
“We’ll have our hands full tomorrow,” said Nash. “Very talented team who has a lot of continuity. Those guys have played together now deep in the playoffs for multiple years. We’ll stick to our principles, but we can always adjust. We have different schemes we can go to if we’re getting hurt. But we’ll stick to our principles as much as possible.”
Beyond potentially unveiling brand new schemes from his gift sack of adjustments to stop the Grinches from up north doing terrible, terrible things to Brooklyn’s so far promising defense, Steve Nash mentioned that he expects the rotation to look very similar to what we all saw in Brooklyn’s inaugural performance––10 guys deep... unless things get out of hand with a blowout.
“We’re gonna start the season playing as many bodies as we can without limiting the rhythm, because of too many changes to rotations, lineups. We’ll try and stay at ten in the rotation early in the season; the games are pretty intense the first few weeks of the season. To use as many bodies as possible is to our benefit... We’ll definitely try and play guys and give a lot of guys as many looks as possible for as long as we can.”
And why not? As Todd Whitehead of Nylon Calculus notes...
The Brooklyn Nets have a bench full of starters. pic.twitter.com/nXblsjCkMd— Todd Whitehead (@CrumpledJumper) December 24, 2020
Nash, as well as Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris, all described participating in the Christmas Day basketball festivities as “an honor,” in different forms and variations.
“It is special. It’s Christmas. And I think everyone realizes that Christmas is a big day for the NBA. It’s five games on national TV. To be able to play in one of those featured games is a special moment. For our guys, they grew up watching games on Christmas. So to be out there, it’s not lost on them. It’s a special occasion.”
And Joe Harris...
“It’s awesome to play on the Christmas Day slate. It’s a huge honor for any team that’s fortunate enough to play on Christmas Day. Big traditional that’s obviously compared to Thanksgiving for football; basketball is synonymous with basketball. It’s a huge honor to play on Christmas Day.”
And Spencer Dinwiddie...
“Obviously as a basketball player, you grow up watching this game. Lakers fan growing up, so obviously they were always on every Christmas––it’s like a family tradition. So if we play on Christmas Day, it’s going to be fun. Obviously, I wish I could be with my family too. But at the same time with COVID and everything, it’s just fun to be out there and have my first experience.”
Kyrie Irving, late of the Bostons, didn’t speak, but we were told he’d say it’s just another game, his return to Beantown. He missed both games at TD Center last season, with the Boston boo-birds (and Kendrick Perkins) claiming he had timed his shoulder injury to take cover from the fearsome Celtics fans.
“I think Ky is just in a really great place, playing well, and it’s just another NBA game,” Nash said. “Maybe it has more meaning to him…In my eyes, he’s just trying to continually refine and improve his skills and performances. Get that rhythm and get back to playing NBA basketball. He’s only played  games in the last 18 months, so, I think he’s just really focused on continuing to build his game conditioning and sharpness.”
It’s been seven long years since the Nets last participated in a Christmas Day game, and the last time around, it, uhhhh, didn’t exactly go swimmingly. Travel back to the year 2013 with me, as the Nets––an early 9-18 disappointment to start the 2013-2014 season––hosted the Chicago Bulls to potentially change the course of their sluggish start even after adding the Hall of Fame talents of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, while bringing in rookie head coach and franchise legend Jason Kidd into the mix.
I’ll let our own Tom Lorenzo, writing from his desk back on December 25th, 2013––perhaps steaming with frustration like a stove-cooked apple cider––explain how the game itself went.
With this game nationally televised and with the Bulls being shorthanded, it seemed as if the Nets wouldn’t let Kidd’s criticism of them from Monday, in which he said they were “comfortable with losing” stand, right? Wrong. The Chicago Bulls came into Brooklyn, on Christmas Day, and embarrassed the Nets in front of justifiably angry fans, winning 95-78.
Here’s to hoping things go a little bit better this time around, and these superpowered Nets continue to spread that holiday cheer! And need we say it, HO, HO, HO, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!
- Kyrie Irving ‘in a really great place’ ahead of return to Boston, Nets coach Steve Nash says - Greg Logan - Newsday