Top to bottom the Brooklyn Nets are better than the Boston Celtics. That’s indisputable.
Better star power, better supporting cast, and a much better chance of winning the Eastern Conference (even if Celtics star Jaylen Brown was healthy).
However, in Game 3, they were thoroughly outplayed and outcoached. Steve Nash’s inexperience (coaching in his first playoff series) showed often, while his counterpart Brad Stevens, an experienced playoff coach, just kept things simple with his team down 0-2 in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
The Celtics were given no shot to win the series and no more than a game at best. Stevens made the necessary adjustments to help his guys get that elusive win. Now, the Celtics believe they can compete, and the narrative changes.
Stevens fed his star player Jayson Tatum who went for 50 points in a 125-119 win over the Nets.
Stevens just said, “F-it, I’m gonna put the ball in my best player’s hands and live with the results.”
The Nets waited far too long to force action away from Tatum on defense. For some reason, the Nets constantly switched everything which left the 6’2 Kyrie Irving guarding 6’8 Tatum on an island, which made their schemes predictable. It was a terrible strategy which in turn showed the inexperience of Nash.
The pressure of this series and every series of the playoffs is squarely on the Nets Super Team featuring Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving.
For the majority of the season, the Nets have shown little resistance on the defensive end, and that was no different in a Game 3 loss. The desperate Celtics, playing in front of 5,000 fans, were mentally and physically tougher then the Nets on Saturday night.
Jeff Green’s absence for the remainder of this series is huge, as he plays the five for them win they go small along with KD, Kyrie, Harden, and Joe Harris.
The rotations are off without him and it compromises their ability to keep teams honest when guarding their “Big 3.”
With Game 4 on Sunday in front of 17,000 Boston fans who’ll be spewing venom at Kyrie, they’ll need to weather a rush by a Celtics team who won’t lay down.
Brooklyn will still win this series but they need to get it over with sooner than later.