The sky was falling. The Nets were in trouble.
While Brooklyn’s rivals in the conference — Milwaukee and Philadelphia — breezing through the first three games of their respective series, the Nets lost a tough one to the shorthanded Boston Celtics in Game 3, 125-119, as Celtics’ star Jayson Tatum dropped a career-high 50 points in the grill of Brooklyn’s superteam.
In need of a statement victory, the Brooklyn Nets provided, taking down Boston 141-126 thanks in large part to an incredible offensive showing from the Big 3 of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden
However, the secret sauce to Brooklyn’s Game 4 victory was its adjusted coverage to Jayson Tatum.
In this video, I broke down four key adjustments to Jayson Tatum that stood out from the film.
0:56 Traps - After mostly letting Jayson Tatum work against single coverage in Game 3, the Brooklyn Nets picked the lowest hanging fruit and deployed a series of double-teams in the second quarter to take the Celtics star out of his rhythm. By trapping the 23-year-old along the sidelines, the Nets forced Tatum into making quick decisions and involving his teammates, many of whom don’t bring as much offensive punch.
2:42 Switch Backs - It stood out right away; the biggest difference from Game 3 to Game 4 was how much the Nets battled to switch back to original matchups after Boston’s pick-and-roll sets. Fighting over screens or even late switches proved to be key in this regard.
3:54 Physical Switches - After Game 3, multiple Nets players noted that they didn’t exert enough physicality while switching on and off the ball. That changed on Sunday, as the Nets battled and scrapped and pushed its opponent off its spots to erase comfort areas and smother any sort of confidence.
5:30 Hiding Kyrie Irving - Much of playoff defense is about hiding a team’s weakest individual defenders, and because of his size, Kyrie Irving is that guy for Brooklyn. The Nets adjusted accordingly in Game 4 by hiding him on a non-threat in Romeo Langford.
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