The Brooklyn Nets, led by a blazing-hot duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, managed to outscore the Cleveland Cavaliers in the playoffs and send the Cavs into an elimination game. Now, the Nets look ahead to their next match — against the number-two seed Boston Celtics.
The C’s don’t have their star center, Robert Williams III, but they do have the best defense in the NBA and the best record in the East, Williams or not.
What’s more, the Nets don’t look great when Durant’s on the bench. Without their superstar on the court hurling the rock wherever he wants it, the team is consistently outscored by some of the NBA’s most middling teams.
For instance, in the just over six minutes of rest Durant took in the Nets’ match against the Cavs, Cleveland outscored them by nine points.
That’s a glaring hole in the team’s strategy. One man alone can’t carry a team to a championship! Even Michael Jordon relied on Scotty Pippen and Dennis Rodman to send the Bulls to back-to-back-to-back season wins.
While the Nets are relying on Durant and Irving to pull a lot of weight, the fact remains that they can put up ridiculous numbers. When the Nets’ star players are in their zone, they look unstoppable. This is exhilarating for Brooklyn’s fans, as it gives them just enough hope to picture a championship.
And, in truth, it’s possible for the Nets to win if things fall into place perfectly. However, the threat that the team simply backfires and the magic we’ve seen on the court evaporates in the face of a more complete team also hangs over the Nets as they stare down the Celtics in the next round.
Following the Nets’ win over the Cavs, Bruce Brown told reporters that Brooklyn only needs to “attack Al Horford and [Daniel] Theis,” since the Celtics have “less of a presence in the paint” without Wiliams. While Brown sounded enthusiastic, Durant was quick to walk back that seemingly endless confidence.
“What did Bruce Brown say? Someone told me he said something that I don’t like,” Durant asked reporters after taking the podium. Someone read the quote back for Durant, who dismissed the statement as “caffeine pride talking.” KD instead characterized Theis and Horford as serious contenders, not to be underestimated. “Them two dudes … they can do the same stuff [as Williams]. It ain’t gonna be that easy, I’ll tell you that.”