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FILM STUDY: The Celtics are outworking and outsmarting the Nets

Matt Brooks provides a detailed video breakdown on where the Nets must improve to even things up with the Celtics.

Brooklyn enters a pivotal Game 2 looking to avenge Sunday’s 115-114 heartbreaking loss against the Celtics, a result that frankly paints a closer contest than reality. Truth be told, the Nets were outworked, outhustled, and outsmarted by the gritty Boston ballclub in the opening game of the potential seven-game series.

In this video, I broke down where the Nets fell short against their Beantown rival along with some possible adjustments going forward.


0:40 Defense (Cons) — The Nets were killed on the offensive glass, grabbing just 5 to Boston’s 15 on Sunday night due to the mini-sized construction of the roster. But rebounding wasn’t the only area in which the Celtics gashed the Nets; Boston was fairly creative about its screening actions to put Brooklyn’s best defenders in disadvantageous situations. Oh, and the Nets had plenty of silly lapses to top things off.

4:50 Defense (Pros) — Nicolas Claxton continued his stretch of sensational help defense, and he made an impact on the offense glass as well. Brooklyn also smartly hedged pick-and-rolls with its most vulnerable defenders, Seth Curry and Patty Mills, instead of serving them up on a platter via switches. Most important of all, Brooklyn may have stumbled upon its preferred coverage against Jayson Tatum in the fourth quarter of Game 1.

7:15 Offense (Cons) — Kevin Durant had one of his worst games as a Net—certainly in the playoffs—because of Boston’s aggressive and rather physical defensive coverage. The Celtics helped liberally off of any actions involving Bruce Brown, treating him as a non-shooter regardless of his surface-level improvements as a floor-spacer. To keep Boston honest, Brooklyn has to be diligent about aligning its floor spacers properly to occupy the defense—this proved to be an issue in Game 1.

10:14 Offense (Pros) — The Nets found some success attacking Daniel Theis in drop coverage. Playing him off the floor will be integral to Brooklyn’s prospects going forward, as Boston was largely dominant with its double-big lineup of Theis and Al Horford in Game 1. One possible exploit could be to use Kevin Durant in screening actions with his starting backcourt, Seth Curry and Kyrie Irving. The Nets should also generally look to utilize Durant more in off-ball motion-heavy sets to create open looks.

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