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.
No Joe Harris or Ben Simmons but Ben 10 went through contact today for second time in three days.
No Robert Williams.
Focus, focus, focus. The Nets coughed it up 16 times, including this bit of insanity in the third quarter
Smart with the steal and the slam! pic.twitter.com/FwPLpskmT1— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) April 17, 2022
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
JAYSON TATUM FOR THE WIN!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/WUr4UsaURk— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 17, 2022
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
Kevin Durant on Celtics fans’ hostility toward Kyrie Irving: “It’s rooted in love. They once loved you…had life altering experiences coming to games watching you play. So when it gets ripped from them in a trade…it feels like a piece of them is gone too.” pic.twitter.com/P1b6jNnrDq— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) April 19, 2022
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:
Kyrie Irving: "When people start yelling 'pussy,' and 'bitch' and 'fuck you' and all this other stuff, there’s only but so much you can take as a competitor, and we’re the ones expected to be docile and be humble and take a humble approach. Nah, fuck that. It’s the playoffs."— Kristian Winfield #NFTAllStar (@Krisplashed) April 17, 2022
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
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Boston Celtics Game Notes - Boston Celtics
- Celtics feeling unified ahead of Game 2 clash with Nets - Larry Fleisher - STATS
- Irving vs fans in spotlight as Celtics, Nets meet in Game 2 - Kyle Hightower - AP
- Kyrie Irving fined $50K for obscene gesture to Celtics fans - Kyle Hightower - AP
- Celtics expecting Nets’ Kevin Durant to have huge Game 2 - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets’ Ben Simmons makes big strides in race to play versus Celtics - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets’ Kevin Durant vows adjustments after rare off game: ‘Slow down’ - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Nets’ Kyrie Irving shouldn’t hold back his ire of Celtics fans if it fuels him - Ian O’Connor - New York Post
- Kyrie Irving fined $50K by NBA for giving middle finger to Celtics fans - Justin Tasch - New York Post
- ‘You dummy’: Adrian Wojnarowski appears to connect Kyrie Irving drama on gambling - Jeremy Layton - New York Post
- Where will this Nets-Celtics series rank among the New York-Boston playoff showdowns? - Peter Botte - New York Post Sports+
- No changes for Kevin Durant when Nets face Celtics in Game 2 - Steve Popper - Newsday
- Ben Simmons practices with contact for first time as a Net - Steve Popper - Newsday
- Kyrie Irving, the Boston crowd and Game 2: Expect the same - Steve Popper - Newsday
- Hero or villain, Kyrie Irving gets into character - Barbara Barker - Newsday
- Nets won’t match Celtics’ size, will seek more Curry, be tougher on Tatum - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Kevin Durant ready to bounce back after subpar Game 1: ‘I know what I did. I wish I had played better.’ - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Ben Simmons plays 4-on-4 with contact; Game 3 return possible - Kristian Winfield - New York Daily News
- Brooklyn Nets’ Ben Simmons cleared for contact but return still unclear - Nick Friedell - ESPN
- What to watch for in an enormous Game 2 between the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics - Zach Lowe - ESPN+
- Kyrie Irving fined $50,000 for flipping off Boston Celtics fans during Game 1 - ESPN
- Nets’ Kyrie Irving fined $50K for use of middle finger, profane language toward Boston fans - The Athletic
- Kyrie Irving shouldn’t have given Celtics fans the finger and cursed at them … but I understand - David Aldridge - The Athletic
- Nets’ Game 2 against Celtics could be their biggest game since moving to Brooklyn - Ian Begley - SNY
- Nets’ Ben Simmons has been cleared for contact ahead of Game 2 - Scott Thompson - SNY
- Kyrie Irving fined $50,000 for ‘obscene gestures’ and ‘profane language’ towards Boston crowd in Game 1 - Alex Smith - SNY
- NBA fines Kyrie Irving $50,000 for giving Celtics fans in Boston the middle finger - Sam Quinn - CBS Sports
- Ben Simmons injury update: Nets star cleared for contact in practice, Steve Nash unsure when he’ll make debut - Jasmyn Wimbish & James Herbert - CBS Sports
- In Game 1, Al Horford provided exactly the kind of veteran leadership the Celtics needed - Adam Himmelsbach - Boston Globe
- ‘Chaos mode:’ Breaking down film with Marcus Smart, who shares the secrets to being a defensive menace - Adam Himmelsbach - Boston Globe
- Celtics’ Marcus Smart wins NBA Defensive Player of the Year; first guard honored since 1996 - Gary Washburn - Boston Globe
- Kyrie Irving fined $50,000 for vulgar gestures toward TD Garden fans - Khari Thompson - Boston Globe
- Celtics notebook: Sticking to Durant - Mark Murphy - Boston Herald
- Kyrie becomes Cryrie as the eternal victim - Bill Speros - Boston Herald