The Nets’ greatest lineup headed into the postseason with out ever having performed a second collectively in the regular-season. Their Big 3 has spent much less time collectively than it takes to take a seat by way of a film.
But the Nets weren’t worrying about it going into their Eastern Conference first-round playoff opener Saturday night time in opposition to the Celtics. They couldn’t afford to.
“We can’t have any concerns. We want to go out there and play well, but we can’t be [afraid], be concerned that we haven’t — you can’t walk onto the floor with that type of mindset,” Kevin Durant mentioned. “We perceive that we haven’t performed a number of video games collectively. But we’ve been on the court docket collectively in practices, we’ve been round one another in the coaching facility, on the bus, on the aircraft.
“So if we can’t get on the floor, we’ve been trying to fill in the blanks with other stuff as far as watching film, communication, just talking out what we see amongst each other. … Everybody in this league has been going through protocols and injuries and not having a lot of continuity with their lineups. That’s just the name of the game this year, and we’ll do our best to adapt.”
Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden have performed simply 202 minutes collectively over eight video games, or 5.8 p.c of the sport time potential. No staff in the final quarter century has gained a title with their prime three scorers collectively for thus little through the common season.
“Someone said to me they’ve played the amount of minutes they’ve played on the floor together is shorter than ‘The Irishman,’ ” Steve Nash quipped of the 209-minute Robert De Niro flick. “That’s simply what it’s; that’s our hole. I hold saying it. We understand it. We settle for it. We acknowledge it. We don’t have the luxurious of 1 full season collectively, not to mention most of our rivals are operating this again for Year 2, 3, 4, 5.
“We’re not going to have that. … We can’t control that. What can we control? We just continue to build every day, work to seek those things: Competitive spirit, connectivity. The cohesion’s something that’s going to come in time; how can we be good enough to survive until it becomes more well-rounded? That’s as much a challenge as anything.”
The 2000-01 Lakers gained after Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Derek Fisher had performed simply 10 video games collectively. The Mavericks gained a decade later with Dirk Nowitzki, Caron Butler and Jason Terry logging 231 minutes, or 5.9 p.c of the sport time, collectively.
The Nets got here into Saturday’s playoff opener with their Big 3 not having performed a second alongside Joe Harris and both Blake Griffin or Nic Claxton. They’ll have to work even more durable for chemistry than these title groups did.
“Us not playing very many minutes together is not ideal,” Griffin admitted. “But I think the level of IQ these guys have and how they play the game and how easy they make the game for their teammates, we’ll try to lean on that.”
But they’re banking on particular person historical past to assist overcome an absence of shared expertise. Their Big 3, Griffin and Jeff Green have performed a staggering 16,183 postseason minutes over 453 video games. The time wasn’t all collectively, and none was for this staff, however the Nets hope it issues.
“It plays a big part, just knowing the situation we’re in, the importance of what’s at stake and just overall experience of having those games under our belt, understanding the moment, having fun in the moment most importantly, because these [chances] don’t come every year,” Green mentioned. “So, being appreciative of what’s at hand.
“So, we’re very well comfortable with any given situation throughout the playoffs. That experience definitely is a good thing to have in the back pocket.”
Each of the Big 3 has missed in depth time. Harden and Griffin arrived midseason and Harris is simply returning after lacking the final three video games. The presumed prime lineup lastly practiced collectively on Thursday.
Still, the Nets insist they’re not fearful.
“Honestly, no,” Claxton mentioned. “We haven’t practiced it much, but when you’re playing with players of that caliber, it’s really easy.”