The mission for the Nets was at all times to get to the playoffs wholesome, whether they arrived as the primary, second and even third seed.
Now we’ll see over the following month (or two) whether they’d the right mission within the first place.
“It was great. Big goal for us this year was to try and be as healthy as possible by the end of the year, and to keep everyone on the same page and excited about what we’re doing. So mission accomplished there,” Steve Nash mentioned. “We have a week to prepare, and the level is going to go up and we got to rise to the occasion and be ready to go.”
Brooklyn, which will begin the playoffs at dwelling over the weekend, awaits the victor of Tuesday’s play-in recreation between Boston and Washington. The Nets earned the No. 2 seed within the East, ending a recreation behind Philadelphia.
Considering the Nets are 6-1 when their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden all begin, there’s a broadly held assumption that they could have been capable of earn the highest seed in the event that they’d logged greater than 202 minutes collectively over eight video games through the regular-season.
That would’ve averted a possible looming second-round conflict versus third-seeded Milwaukee — to whom they misplaced the season sequence 2-1.
“That’s the goal — obviously to win games and have a good seeding and have home-court and all that. But health is the most important thing,” Blake Griffin mentioned. “It’s great that everybody will be ready to go. Now we just have our work cut out for us in terms of preparing and executing.”
Griffin has by no means began a recreation alongside the Big 3 and Joe Harris, due to Harris lacking the ultimate three tilts with a glute damage. The Nets are going into the postseason with their (presumed) optimum lineup by no means having began collectively, however are playing on expertise and well being to mitigate that.
“It’s obviously good to have everybody healthy and guys being in rhythm at this point. But we know how important each possession is in the playoffs,” Durant mentioned. “That’s one thing we can use and hang our hats on, is knowing that. We understand that intensity of each possession. It’s on us to go out there and execute.”
These Nets are brand-new as a unit, though not as people. Griffin, Jeff Green and the Big 3 could not have performed a ton of basketball collectively, however they’ve performed a ton of significant basketball of their careers.
That quintet has mixed for 456 postseason video games, 87 playoff sequence and three championships. That historical past helps — however how a lot?
“Well, it helps for sure. I don’t know if it supersedes or not,” Nash mentioned. “This is a game about harmony, chemistry, routine, coming together. And we’re going to have to do that in a short amount of time. But we understand that. We accept that. We do have guys who’re talented and have a lot of experience. So, hopefully we can rely on that as we find ourselves.”
The Clippers by no means did discover themselves final 12 months, upset within the second spherical by Denver after seemingly not giving Paul George and Kawhi Leonard sufficient time to jell through the season and attempting to show it on late.
Fair or not, there will be inevitable hot-take comparisons if the Nets battle.
“We have work to do. To be special, you can’t be special just by showing up. We’ve got work to do,” Griffin mentioned.
“It’s a different brand of basketball. Once you’re in, you’ve got to lock in. There’s a lot of mental toughness that goes into winning playoff games, preparing for them, making the adjustments, all of that. There’s highs and lows in the playoffs, and you have to be able to ride that storm. We have a lot of guys who’ve played a lot of playoff games. Hopefully that will come in handy for us.”