What the Celtics learned on Friday night time, what we all learned, is that the Brooklyn Nets bleed, you may punch the bully within the mouth and never run away scared, you shouldn’t have to faint on the mere sight of the Big 3 once they strut into your area.
OK, so perhaps it took a 50-point explosion from Jayson Tatum to beat them, and lightning by no means strikes twice, however James Harden did rating 41 factors and Kevin Durant did rating 39 extra and it nonetheless wasn’t sufficient.
So that is the primary actual pothole the Big 3 has hit on the Yellow Brick Road to the NBA Championship, they usually have been making an attempt to persuade us and maybe themselves that a bit adversity by no means harm anyone. Not even them.
And they could possibly be proper, so long as their Game 3 loss serves as a wake-up name that reminds them that for all the raging hype and all the hyperventilating that has adopted them from the second KD and Kyrie Irving joined up collectively even earlier than Harden got here alongside for the trip, the ultimate and solely vacation spot of which should be the Canyon of Heroes, they’ve but to win a single playoff collection collectively.
At the very least, the Celtics have gotten their consideration, and with COVID-19 restrictions in Massachusetts lifted simply in time for Game 4 on Sunday night time, a capability crowd will be there to try to will the Celtics to a 2-2 collection impasse, and spew venom whereas they’re at it at Irving, their villainous traitor who broke his pledge to stay a Celtic forever and perhaps in the future be a part of Russell and Satch and Cousy and Okay.C. and Bird within the rafters and permit outdated Red Auerbach to puff on his cigar someplace up there in hoop heaven.
The ethical of the Game 3 story: There can certainly be nights when the mighty Nets don’t put their shorts on two legs at a time if the Big 3 is merely the Big 2.
There certainly will be nights when coach Steve Nash will be pressured to confront and tackle the risks of complacency seeping in on the type of night time when Irving is 6-for-17 from the ground and 2-for-6 from 3-point vary for 16 factors, with two assists, throughout 41 minutes.
If Kyrie Irving had performed the way in which Kyrie Irving had been anticipated to play on Friday night time, then Nash wouldn’t be gnashing his enamel over a troubling lack of effort and physicality and self-discipline towards an underdog Celtics staff enjoying with its hair on hearth. A Celtics staff that needed Game 3 extra, and will need Game 4 each bit as a lot, and imagine not possible is nothing now.
Irving’s activity will be to reply the query of whether or not the town of Boston is in his head, as a result of he positive didn’t reply it in Game 3.
“I don’t want to necessarily make any conclusions that it was because of all the other chatter and the fans and all that,” Nash stated, “that’s a question for Ky. We know how good he is, we know that he can handle that environment, and we know that he can play much better in Game 4.”
Because of his perceived betrayal and his otherworldly items, Irving undoubtedly would have been vilified even when he hadn’t invoked the “subtle racism” card for which he had braced himself from TD Garden followers.
Irving brushed it off following Game 3 as simply one other hostile setting he has encountered throughout his 11-year profession, however he did implore the boobirds to carry it on with a wave of his palms when he first got here out for battle.
“I’m not against it if that’s what gets him going,” Nash stated.
It is considerably amusing that after the Nets misplaced for the primary time in these playoffs, the narrative modified from the sweetness and luxurious of getting three star playmakers who can create on their very own and kill you with iso to perhaps extra ball motion could be preferable when the Big 3 is the Big 2.
“Getting into some of our sets and just getting movement and getting some shots that way, sorta keeps them guessing,” Blake Griffin stated. “When you have a heavy dose of iso, I think it’s a little bit easier for defenses to sorta get used to it and scheme around.”
The Nets aren’t constructed to be Red Holzman’s hit-the-open-man Knicks. One playoff loss and Nash abruptly finds himself scrambling to rid the offense of predictability.
“They’re so good in isolation that sometimes they’re having success in isolation,” Nash stated, “but maybe it’s hard to see how it’s limiting the overall picture. So, we have to find that balance.”
The Nets aren’t constructed to be Pat Riley’s Knicks both. One playoff loss and Nash abruptly finds himself scrambling to tackle the lackadaisical pick-and-roll protection the Nets displayed towards Tatum.
“He was able to get his catches in his spots too easy,” Nash stated.
There was additionally the matter of providing little resistance to Tristan Thompson (13 rebounds) on the offensive glass, with Glue Guy Jeff Green sidelined. And disgrace on the Nets for letting capturing guard Romeo Langford seize six rebounds off the bench in 27 minutes.
These are secondary or tertiary points or issues when the Big 3 is a Big 3. Big Game 4 now. Big crowd. Big 2 ready on Kyrie.