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Nets look to bounce back vs. Celtics in Game 2

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2022 NBA Playoffs - Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Damn it. On Easter Sunday, the Brooklyn Nets opened up their first round series with the Boston Celtics. They got down big and fought all the way back and had a chance to steal one late. However, they couldn’t seal the deal and suffered a deflating loss on Sunday afternoon.

Read about Game one from our folks at CelticsBlog here.

Where to follow the game

TNT and WWOR-TV (plus the YES Network app) on TV. WFAN on radio. Tip off after 7 p.m.

Injuries

No Joe Harris or Ben Simmons but Ben 10 went through contact today for second time in three days.

No Robert Williams.

The game

Focus, focus, focus. The Nets coughed it up 16 times, including this bit of insanity in the third quarter

They know better and have to be better. All of Brooklyn’s bad habits came to the party on Sunday with the lackadaisical play, defensive miscues, dumb dumb turnovers, lack of communication on defensive rotations, and everything else you wanna name.

The odds favor Boston tonight, but as we saw in game one, all it takes is one bounce for things to head in the other direction.

Around the NBA tonight will be Game 3 between the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors with the Sixers up 2-0. And to close out the night will be Game 2 between the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks.

The C’s manhandled the Nets by 14 on the glass in game one, and this is where everyone on the team has to work harder on the boards. The duo of Al Horford and Daniel Theis crushed Brooklyn on the boards and the Nets will have to work a lot harder to complete possessions and limit their second chance opportunities. Andre Drummond played 17 minutes, but was a non-factor while he was out there. If he’s not going to dominate the boards while he’s out there, Brooklyn would be wise to give even more of his minutes to Nicolas Claxton. Aside from the missed free throws, Clax was excellent on Sunday as he led the team in rebounding, blocked three shots, and played with high energy all night.

We’ve talked for a while about the danger of the Nets going with three small guards and it shone through on Sunday. Could this be a call for more Kessler Edwards? It’s a LOT of extra responsibility to put on a rookie, but maybe that might be something that can help.

They’re also gonna need much more from Bruce Brown. Brown got put on the Summer Jam screen prior to the game and got outplayed for much of the night. He also let up a really terrible layup to Jaylen Brown late in the game, which contributed to the madness of the final seconds. Brown will need to help on the boards as well as make things happen on the short roll for Brooklyn. In a tough environment, he’s going to need to meet the moment.

Gary Payton was in Boston on Monday, and he was there for a special reason...

Smart is the first guard to win the Defensive Player of the Year award since GP back in 1995-1996. It’s a welcome honor for one of the game’s best perimeter defenders. It feels like Smart has been around for an eternity, but he’s still only 28 years old. Time flies when you’re locking fools up on D.

Jayson Tatum has had plenty of amazing moments in his career, and this one stands atop them all

Superstars make superstar plays when you need them. Tatum made life hell on every Net that got, but things started to work in the fourth when the Nets blitzed him super aggressively, and it was working to a certain degree. If the Nets try it again, look for Ime Udoka and the C’s staff to adjust and counter it. The Nets will probably try to throw the length of Nic Claxton onto him to make things a bit more difficult on JT. When you’re jostling with great players, best bet is to hope you do enough to throw them off their games.

Simply put, you need your best player to be better. Kevin Durant had a terrible game on Sunday afternoon. He went 9-24 with only four rebounds and six turnovers in his 41 minutes on the court. Boston played him physically all night long, and in the postgame, KD mentioned he was rushing a bit to account for the C’s defense. With a few days to study and analyze the game, he’ll be ready to bounce back and get back in rhythm. If his shot isn’t working tonight, the Nets will need him to help on the boards and do everything else to get this series tied at 1 as we head back to Brooklyn. KD spoke to the press about the big news out of Sunday’s game, and said

The game of basketball is lucky to have KD representing it.

Player to watch: Jaylen Brown

It’s an important time of year at work and in life for Jaylen Brown. He’s observing Ramadan and prior to the start of the series, he spoke about it and said:

“Ramadan is a special moment, a special time. Definitely relating your relationship with God and your relationship through adversity, persevering through distractions and any negativity, anything that pulls you away from being your higher self.”

Peace to him and everyone observing.

Brown didn’t have the greatest of games on Sunday, and caught a stray elbow that had him leaking blood along the way.

If there’s one thing you should remember in life, it’s that the camera’s always on. And for Kyrie Irving, when you’re dealing with heckling fans talking all kinds of shit, that means you forget said camera is on and return the energy that’s being sent your way. He spoke about it after the game and said:

Respect the energy.

In between all of that, Irving had a game for the ages with 39 points and six assists on a .600/.600/1.000 shooting split. The C’s played some drop coverage in P&R while he was handling the ball, and that spells danger every time when going up against a player of his caliber. The Nets did manage to target Theis a good amount of time, and they should look to repeat that formula again. When Irving is attacking and punishing mismatches, he’s one of the most difficult players to game plan for and slow down. It’s gonna be another intense night of basketball, and Irving will be ready to stare down the challenge and make things happen. Embrace it.

From the Vault

Nets looking to bounce back in Boston after a backbreaking loss? We’ve been here before

And to end on a sad note, on Sunday evening, DJ Kay Slay passed away at the age of 55. The Drama King was a huge part of NY hip-hop and will be missed.

More reading: CelticsBlog

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