Brooklyn laid down perhaps its best performance of the season on Tuesday, dropping 109 points through three quarters against the Boston Celtics in Game 2. The Nets looked like the world-beating superteam most expected them to be despite barely having any time on the floor together to gel. (For the record, the “Big Three” now have shared the court a total of 251 minutes in 10 games ... 39 in the first two games of the playoffs.)
How impressive? Deal with this stat: the starting five had an offensive rating of 178! For comparison sake, the Nets set an all-time NBA record in the regular season with a 117 rating!
In this video, I broke down what went into Brooklyn’s massive Game 2 performance, how best to replicate it, as well as some other Game 2 notes...
0:32 Mismatch Hunting: To the surprise of none, the Nets — a team with maybe 3 of the 5-best isolation scorers in the world — have gone “targeting” in the series against Boston, sniffing out some of the Celtics weakest defenders for one-on-one dances. Per Synergy, three of Boston’s most frequent isolation defenders in the series are Evan Fournier, Jabari Parker, and Tristan Thompson, none of whom are particularly adept defenders. That is by design; Brooklyn is picking those dudes out with screening actions.
4:04 Passing & Spacing: As our Alec Sturm detailed, Brooklyn’s game plan shifted tremendously from Game 1 to Game 2, moving away from stagnant isolation sets to a more free-flowing, democratic offense. Brooklyn completed 28 more passes in their second meetup with Boston while recording 31 assists on 46 made field goals. Per Stats Muse, the Nets are 24-3 when recording 30+ assists, the second-best winning percentage in the league behind only the Phoenix Suns.
6:58 Other Game Notes: Brooklyn’s starting lineup was a massive plus on the floor (a 178 offensive rating), while its James Harden-led bench unit was just as effective (a 67 net rating). Kevin Durant’s ramped-up defensive focus is something to watch and his 4 blocks in Game 2 harkened back to his days in Golden State.
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