The Nets get to sit down again and wait to see who they’ll face in the playoffs. They’ll watch the Celtics and Wizards go in opposition to one another in Tuesday’s play-in recreation.
Knowing how the Nets are, good luck getting a straight reply about who they’d reasonably face. They’ll doubtless give the politically right reply: they don’t care. But who ought to they need to face? That’s so much simpler.
Boston. And its not about all of the tasty aspect tales and juicy sizzling takes.
It’s not private; it’s strictly enterprise.
Based on present type, well being, matchups — nearly each conceivable metric, actually — the Nets are higher suited to make quick work of the Celtics than the Wizards.
“The Nets are going to gentlemen sweep either one of those teams,” mentioned ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins, a proud former Celtic himself. “But having Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal go in opposition to the Brooklyn Nets that would be must-see TV. Russ performs with that tenacity, he’s so ferocious. When I consider Russ, he’s so intimidating that he jogs my memory of Mike Tyson.
“He may not been the greatest boxer of all time, but he was the most ferocious. When Russ steps on the floor, whether people admit it or not, he’s ferocious. People are intimidated by his presence because of how dominant he is. So if I had to choose, I’d love to see Brooklyn and the Wizards go at it. But neither of those teams have anything to impose a will to beat Brooklyn in a seven-game series.”
Styles make fights, with Kevin Durant and his Nets prohibitive favorites to KO both workforce. But at the least the Wizards have a puncher’s likelihood.
Boston is stumbling into Tuesday’s play-in having misplaced 5 of its final six, together with to the Knicks in the regular-season finale after they sat their prime seven gamers. They’ve additionally lost star Jaylen Brown to wrist surgery, all three prior matchups in opposition to Brooklyn, and sufficient mojo that there’s speak about Brown and Jayson Tatum tuning out Brad Stevens.
That’s a workforce ripe for a knockout.
Washington? Winners of 17 of its final 23? That’s the counterpunch that may catch you slipping.
“Well, if Perk doesn’t want to watch the Celtics, I don’t want to watch them either,” ESPN’s Jalen Rose mentioned. “They have been down double-digits in nearly 55 p.c of their video games. No Jaylen Brown for the remainder of the 12 months. Obviously, Tatum is an excellent participant, however I’d a lot reasonably see the Wizards and Brooklyn.
“Just the storylines galore, and just the talent, too, watching players like Kyrie [Irving] and Beal go back-and-forth with James Harden. And then Russ obviously has this relationship with KD, and we’ll start talking about the burner accounts. And when KD returned and people calling him cupcake and stuff like that. The storylines if it was those two teams competing against each other.”
Sure, the backstories would be juicy, digging into Durant and Westbrook’s tumultuous Thunder history, and any trash-talk between the 2.
Durant bolted OKC as a result of he reportedly didn’t assume he may win enjoying there with Westbrook, and the 2 famously went at it in their first assembly afterwards. Anybody who thinks it’s all in the previous ought to recall Durant initially left Westbrook off his listing of top-5 teammates whereas on the Million Dollaz Worth of Game podcast.
But even with Beal not at 100%, he scored 25 factors on a gimpy hamstring Sunday. Another three or 4 days’ relaxation after Tuesday night time’s recreation will get him even more healthy … and extra harmful.
With Westbrook ending the season averaging a triple-double (22.7 factors, 11.7 assists and 11.5 boards) — and being a downhill nightmare even for the most effective defenders — this backcourt may give Brooklyn matches.
Irving and Harden could be higher defenders than given credit score for, however there’s a motive the Nets misplaced the season sequence to Washington. They allowed a mean of 126 factors to the Wizards, the fourth-most they’d allowed to any workforce.
Sure, many would revel in seeing Irving play in front of Celtics fans for the first time since bolting Boston for Brooklyn. But eager to face the Celtics as an alternative of the Wizards shouldn’t be private, however concerning the enterprise of basketball.
And Boston is the higher enterprise. Even if the Nets don’t say it.