We’re on the board. Before a RAUCOUS crowd at Barclays Center on Saturday night, the Brooklyn Nets opened their playoff adventure with a somewhat convincing win against the Boston Celtics to open this series. Although the Nets got the W, they’ve got some things to clean up.
For the C’s, they’ll look to get it in gear so they can tie up the series. Read about game one from the Boston perspective here.
Where to follow the game
TNT and WPIX on TV. WFAN FM on radio. Party’s getting started after 7:30 p.m.
Join us on Clubhouse after the game for a live discussion:
Only Spencer Dinwiddie is out for the Nets.
Only Jaylen Brown is out for the Celtics.
I was at Barclays Saturday night, and it was an absolutely electric atmosphere. The crowd was into it, everyone was loud, and the players were hype. The Nets had a few chances to blow the roof off the joint, but couldn’t deliver the ultimate crowd pleaser. They’ll have their chances tonight to set it off.
Here’s to you, Robert Williams. The Time Lord had the game of his life as he had 11 points, nine rebounds, and nine blocks on Saturday night. He was able to thwart the Nets attacks at the basket, so Steve Nash and friends will devise a strategy to get some easier looks at the rim tonight. The Nets ran a ton of isolations in game one, so some more movement might be in the cards tonight.
The big concern about the Nets was their defense, and they exceeded expectations on Saturday. Jeff Green spoke about the work done against Jayson Tatum and said:
“We forced him to take some tough shots. He got very comfortable in the first half and that’s what allowed him to get going. In the second half, we were a little bit more aggressive on the ball. That’s what forced him to take some shots that were tough for him. We got to stay on the pressure of making him put the ball on the floor and take contested shots.”
Tatum was able to feast on switches where he got to dance with Blake Griffin. Brooklyn made the adjustment by limiting BG’s minutes in the second half and relying on the duo of Green and Nicolas Claxton to man the middle. Tatum didn’t make a field goal but did get seven points at the line in the second half. Tatum has to score 30+, coordinate the offense, defend an elite scorer, AND It doesn’t help that he had to deal with Kevin Durant, too.
Speaking of KD, it took him a while to find his groove in his Brooklyn playoff debut, but once he got it going, he was on fire. He scored a game high 32 points and went 5-10 from the field after the halftime intermission. When you have a player like Durant, you give him as much time and room as he needs to get his rhythm.
Speaking of rhythm, James Harden didn’t have it on Saturday, but there were plenty of flashes. He had eight assists in his 36 minutes and did a good job of seeking out Tristan Thompson when Boston switched pick and rolls.
Can you count on the Nets going 8-of-34 from three again? If the Nets are even close to their usual form from deep, it’s gonna be another party at Barclays.
Player to watch: Kemba Walker
Boston needs a second scorer, and Walker just was not up to par on Saturday. He went 5-16 from the field and really the only time he got into a groove was late when the Nets pretty much had it wrapped up. I asked Greg Brueck-Cassoli of Celtics Blog about Kemba prior to the series, and here’s what he told me:
Their offense is lightyears better when he’s playing well. If opponents play a drop scheme in the pick-and-roll he can be a killer pulling up as the ball handler. Opt for a switch-heavy strategy, and when he’s right Walker is a nightmare to stay in front of. Size can confound him at times, particularly by the basket. If the Nets roll with Blake Griffin at center, then there may be hope for him to attack the rack more effectively than usual. Anyone longer and more mobile could spell trouble.
Boston’s gonna need Walker to revert back to form if they want to win.
Kyrie Irving will look to keep on keeping on. The Jersey kid had an efficient 29 points on 11-20 from the field. Irving was able to get to his spots without much difficulty and with the amount of times Brooklyn ran isolations, having a player that can get his own shot anywhere like Irving can takes on even more importance. You play fast, the Nets light you up. Slow it down, the Nets give it to Irving and let him feast against your defender. Tough riddle to solve.
Also, this happened.
KYRIE PUT FOURNIER ON THE FLOOR.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 23, 2021
From the Vault
An excellent guard leading his team to a Game one victory in front of a raucous Nets crowd? It’s feeling like the old days
More reading: Celtics Blog
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Boston Celtics Game Notes - Boston Celtics
- Kevin Durant, Nets try to take 2-0 series lead vs. Celtics - Larry Fleisher - STATS
- Rowdy, Rude and Really Loud: New York N.B.A. Fans Let Loose - Sopan Deb - New York Times
- Nets making it very difficult for Celtics stars - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets’ defense may end up being key to NBA championship run - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Blake Griffin left with little to do but watch Big 3 in Nets’ playoff win - Paul Schwartz - New York Post
- Tristan Thompson: Celtics ‘don’t give a s–t’ about Nets’ swagger - Paul Schwartz - New York Post
- Nets try to keep George Floyd’s memory alive as Game 2 falls on anniversary of his death - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Nets expect adjustments from Celtics after strong defensive performance in Game 1 - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Nets want aggressive defense again for Game 2 vs. Celtics - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Scout on what he saw from Nets’ Game 1 win over Celtics: ‘They took Boston’s best punch and bounced back’ - Ian Begley - SNY
- Tonight at the Barclays Center: a protest, then a playoff game (and maybe an intersection?) - Norman Oder - Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report
- NETS VS. CELTICS GAME 2: BROOKLYN RODE BIG 3 TO SERIES LEAD - Tom Dowd - Brooklyn Nets
- Celtics’ Jayson Tatum names his top five players in NBA right now - Justin Leger - NBC Sports
- Celtics have hope against Nets because they were locked in defensively in Game 1 - Gary Washburn - Boston Globe
- Celtics Notebook: Rob Williams on track for Game 2 - Mark Murphy - Boston Herald