And so it begins. The Brooklyn Nets officially kick off the 2022 playoffs with a chance to steal the ever-important Game 1 from the Boston Celtics while on the road.
It won’t be easy, of course, but the Nets are in a nice rhythm and they have a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving which gives them a chance against anyone, really.
The Celtics, of course, have been one of the league’s best teams in the second half of the season, fighting their way to the second seed in the East. Led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, they have high hopes in not only winning this round but in coming out of the East and making it the Finals.
I’ll drop my prediction here: Nets in 6.
This should be an exciting series, to say the least.
WHO: Brooklyn Nets (0-0) at Boston Celtics (0-0)
WHEN: 3:30 p.m. est
WHERE: ABC (national tv), WFAN-FM (radio)
Boston’s 3-point defense has been one of the best in the league, and that will be a critical part of tonight’s game. Seth Curry got shut out against the Cavs on Tuesday, but he has been the team’s best deep shooter since coming over from the Philadelphia 76ers and will get his fair share of looks today. Patty Mills has found his shot after a months long slump and if the Nets can play fast and get clean looks from deep, they’ll be able to cash in.
The hometown faithful will give Bruce Brown his fair share of hell this series, but he’ll be ready. Brown has been magnificent for the Nets and allows them to get as weird as possible with lineup construction. When he plays with Clax, the Nets defense turns up a few notches and look for Steve Nash and the coaching staff to have him out there for as long as possible. BB will probably get his fair share of time guarding JB. Jaylen Brown has been his usual solid self this year.
For all the boos Bruce Brown might get, it’ll feel like a walk in the park compared to what’s waiting for Kyrie Irving. We know the story: good, but chaotic two years with the C’s, left to join the Nets in 2019, pissed off the Boston fans last year, etc. etc. etc. It’s been a good year for Irving when he’s played and he put on a showcase against his (other) former team on Tuesday night. In today’s game, the Nets will need Irving to be locked in early and hunting for his shot. He struggled in the last regular season matchup between these teams, but with this being the playoffs, he’ll be keyed in. Without Williams lurking in the paint, Irving will look to attack the basket early and often. Boston is great at protecting the rim, but Irving is one of the best finishers at the rim in basketball so it’ll be a nice game within the game to see who has the most success.
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