After a well-contested first half, the Nets broke open Game 1 vs. Boston with an 18-4 run to open the half.
Essentially the most efficient offense in NBA history wasn’t very sharp within the first 24 minutes of its first playoff game. The Brooklyn Nets’ “Big 3” of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving mixed to shoot simply 11-for-32 within the first half of Game 1 of their first-round sequence in opposition to the Boston Celtics. But the Nets did enough within the second half on both ends of the floor to earn a 104-93 victory on Saturday.
240 — In keeping with Second Spectrum tracking, the Nets handed the ball simply 240 times, tied for his or her third-lowest complete of the season, in Sport 1. It was a slow-paced game (93 possessions for every crew), but the Nets’ 2.58 passes per possession have been nicely beneath their regular-season average (2.84).
This was an iso-fest, with a variety of 1-on-1 basketball. Both teams switched almost each display screen and each team was joyful to target sure matchups. And, although the Nets have three of the best isolation gamers within the league, that worked out higher for the Celtics within the first half. They picked on Blake Griffin, attacked the paint, and generated a lot better pictures than the Nets, who scored simply 47 factors on their 48 first-half possessions with minimal ball motion.
The Nets started the second half with an 18-4 run (scoring these 18 points on 9 offensive possessions) to show a six-point deficit into an eight-point lead. Durant (9), Harden (6), and Irving (3) accounted for all 18 factors, making 4 of their 5 threes after going 0-for-10 from past the arc within the first half. The ball didn’t essentially transfer extra, and a few of that run was simply straight 1-on-1 shot-making, but they did get Durant some catches within the put up, the place he may shoot over Marcus Smart or draw a foul.
The Celtics would near inside three halfway by the fourth quarter, but Brooklyn was in management as soon as the offense received going early within the third. After scoring simply 47 factors on 48 possessions within the first half, the Nets scored 57 on solely 45 within the second half.
A Bit of film
The Nets really had a four-pass possession in that 18-4 run, with a little bit of motion to free Irving for his three factors. Harden gave the ball to Griffin after which went to set a screen for Irving out of the left nook. Kemba Walker switched onto Harden and slid beneath to forestall a cut to the basket, but Marcus Good was gradual to react to Irving, who stopped quick on the hand-off from Griffin (stopping Tristan Thompson from being able to step out) and drained an open 3…
Simply as important because the Nets’ offense within the second half was that they held the Celtics to only 40 factors on 45 possessions within the final 24 minutes. For the evening, they have been higher defensively with Jeff Green at the center (29 factors allowed on 34 defensive possessions) or with Nicolas Claxton on the 5 (21 on 22) than they have been with Griffin (43 on 40), who was the Celtics’ pick-and-roll target whenever he was on the floor.
But the Nets made a nice adjustment on one early third-quarter possession, pre-switching to prevent Griffin from getting matched up with Walker. Good came to visit for (presumably) a double-drag display screen with Thompson for Walker however then backed away, so the Celtics may simply get the Griffin swap. But when Good did that, Harden switched onto Thompson and ultimately onto Walker, as Griffin caught with Good. Walker gave up the ball, Smart tried to provide it again to him, and Walker stepped out of bounds:
Game 2 Adjustments?
The Nets will probably be joyful to play extra one-on-one in Sport 2 on Tuesday (7:30 ET, TNT). They’ll even be joyful if the Celtics ship two defenders to the ball…
Each team can do issues (past focusing on sure matchups) to take advantage of switching protection. The Celtics ran a play within the second quarter (that they’ve used against the Nets earlier than) the place Jayson Tatum units a ball display screen, seals the preliminary on-ball defender, after which receives a move from a giant who flashes to the ball:
Brooklyn will make errors defensively, but Boston should force more mistakes than they did on Saturday to have a chance on this sequence. The Nets have too much expertise offensively and are probably not going to remain chilly for greater than 24 minutes on any given evening.