Much has been made concerning the Nets’ Big 3 going in opposition to the Bucks’ long-armed defense of their Eastern Conference semifinal sequence. But beginning with Saturday’s Game 1, the Nets additionally needed to cope with the highest-scoring offense within the NBA.
Enter Bruce Brown.
The former highschool soccer security has given the Nets much-needed perimeter defense and physicality. Though he’s not prone to be on two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, apart from the occasional swap, he’ll be important in making an attempt to decelerate Jrue Holiday and nearer Khris Middleton, All-Stars in their very own proper.
“It’s three-level scorers that can do a little bit of everything, get everybody involved. No team’s been better offensively this year, so really we’re just trying to be physical with them and try to limit their game,” Brown stated earlier than scoring six factors to go together with 4 rebounds and three assists off the bench in a 115-107 win over the Bucks at Barclays Center. Brown helped maintain Middleton and Holiday to 13 and 17 factors, respectively. “We know what Giannis can do, we know what they can do, so try to be physical and try to limit their opportunities and make it tough.”
Brown’s soccer background brings a toughness.
“Probably. I was the type of guy that runs to contact and [doesn’t] shy away from it. So probably being down in the trenches.”
Brown averaged 14.3 factors on 63.2 % taking pictures and 9.3 rebounds — with a team-high plus-64 — within the last 4 regular-season video games. And he averaged 12 factors, six boards and two steals within the final two video games of the first-round sequence win over Boston.
The physicality and edge Brown brings are a big cause the Nets had been 29-8 in video games he began this season.
“Bruce was great. He’s been doing that all season,” Blake Griffin stated. “He’s got that fearless mentality and it’s great because he really takes advantage of defenses sort of not giving him enough credit.”
When the Celtics had been responsible of that — lackadaisical with their switches, and doubling off Brown — he made them pay.
“Time and time again, he got in and finished down low,” Griffin stated. “And then on the defensive end he does a great job. He guarded their guards, guarded Kemba [Walker] when he was playing, guarded Jayson [Tatum] when he was playing. He’s like a utility guy who has basically played every position for us.”
Griffin had his first double-double of the playoffs and simply his second of the season to assist the Nets to the large Game 1 win. He had 18 factors, going 4-for-9 from 3-point vary, and added 14 rebounds.
After being purchased out by the Pistons and listening to questions on how a lot he had left within the tank, Griffin helped maintain Antetokounmpo from utterly taking up the sport. And he earned a standing ovation for his hustle performs, diving on the ground a number of instances to get well unfastened balls.
“It felt good,” Griffin stated. “I’ve sort of talked about it, but two years I kind of like, I didn’t hear much positivity. And probably rightfully, so but it’s pretty crazy how quickly it happens. So I’m just thankful for this chance and the opportunity.”
Mike James logged a season-high half-hour. He tallied 12 points and tied his career-high with seven boards off the bench.
Jeff Green (left plantar fascia pressure) was out for Game 1 and is day-to-day.
The Nets’ 91.2 % taking pictures from the free-throw line was the very best for a crew in a playoff sequence in NBA historical past, topping the Mavericks’ 89.6 % in a six-game Western Conference semifinal versus the Spurs in 2003.
The Nets had been 8-for-9 from the charity stripe on Saturday evening.