Nets bracing for ‘difficult’ Game 4 test versus Celtics

BOSTON — The Nets weren’t bodily sufficient Friday towards the Celtics. They weren’t gritty sufficient or aggressive sufficient in getting roughed up at TD Garden in Game 3 of this first-round playoff sequence.

They know it’s only going to get tougher in Game 4 on Sunday. And they’ll must get more durable, too.

“We have to play better as a unit, and we will [in] Game 4,” James Harden mentioned. “This factor isn’t going to get simpler for us. It’s going to be tough. We count on that. Next sport, it’s going to be much more followers, so we’ve obtained to take upon the problem.

“So, learning experience for us. We’ll take [Game 3] on the chin and get better and ready to go for Sunday.”

They had higher be. They took it on the chin, within the face and all over the place else in a 125-119 loss.

James Harden, battling Aaron Nesmith for the ball through the Nets’ Game 3 loss, mentioned he is aware of Game 4 can be and even more durable test.

The Nets obtained outrebounded 46-37, and Tristan Thompson bludgeoned them for nine offensive boards — one fewer than they’d as a staff.

“We’re the guys that like to get nasty,” Thompson mentioned. “We’re the bulldogs.”

The TD Garden crowd was electrical at simply one-quarter capability (4,789). Massachusetts limits loosened on Saturday, so for Game 4 the sector can be at near-full capability.

“We had too many breakdowns that were simple, just lacked discipline in different scenarios and maybe just didn’t make enough of that second effort, that kind of frenetic energy we had in Games 1 and 2,” Nets coach Steve Nash mentioned.

“It’s been a message for us all along. We won in many ways the first two games because of our physicality. … [Friday] it took a step back. Second effort, discipline, I don’t care if there’s 100,000 people in there, if you make the second efforts and play with more discipline we can limit the things that really hurt us in Game 3.”

After the Nets gained the primary two video games at Barclays Center, the Celtics have been determined coming again residence. The Nets shouldn’t have been caught shocked by Boston’s physicality, however they clearly have been.

“They played with a little more physicality, played with a little more energy, and we should expect that with them being at home,” Blake Griffin mentioned. “I assumed they have been extra bodily, that it was a degree that they needed to make: Coming residence, combating, getting the 50-50 balls. … We simply didn’t match that depth.

“The things we talked about, the things we go over before the game in our preparation, those are ‘must do’ things. You can’t come out and get outworked, you can’t get beat on the offensive glass. That’s on me. And it can be a good thing for us — depending on how we respond to this.”

Griffin had simply 4 factors on 1-for-5 taking pictures and dedicated 5 fouls. Yet he was possible simpler than spindly Nic Claxton, who completed a minus-21 and obtained moved round by the burlier Thompson. Claxton and Landry Shamet should play higher, whereas defensive guard Bruce Brown (14 minutes) could must play extra.

“Those [young] guys are capable. They’ve done it. They can do it again. It’s just trying to up our energy for the next game,” Nash mentioned. “There’s no magic pill. You go out and play hard and compete, you battle adversity and good things happen.”

It’s unclear if Nash will put veteran DeAndre Jordan again within the rotation, however the Nets clearly weren’t bodily sufficient to take the Celtics out of their offense. After holding Jayson Tatum to twenty-eight.1 % taking pictures via the primary two video games, they let him gouge them within the 1-4-1 pick-and-roll en path to 50 factors Friday.

Even contemplating the absence of Jeff Green, who’s out with a strained plantar fascia, that’s inexcusable.

“Those are both huge focal points for us. We just talked about being the more assertive, physical team,” Joe Harris mentioned. “[Friday] you in all probability say Boston was a little bit extra [physical] than us. Tristan clearly is a tough cowl by way of the strain he places on the offensive glass. We’ve obtained to do a greater job of getting guys cracking again on him, limiting him and his second-chance alternatives.

“Tatum’s an incredible player, but you’ve got to do everything you can to make it tough on him. Huge game, 50 points. That’s unacceptable.”

Throwing the primary punch was a precedence for Boston.

“That was our main goal and most important thing going into Game 3: Be the most physical team and set the tone,” Romeo Langford mentioned. “I feel like we did that.”

It’s a lesson the Nets must be taught for Game 4.

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