The Miami Heat are only on 2 right now. They promised:
Now of course, logically, for the Heat to get 3, they’d have to reach the Finals, and before that the Eastern Conference Finals… You know how it works. Unfortunately for them, the Brooklyn Nets have the answer and will be the last team they play this season.
The Nets’ current roster started construction in 2011 when Deron Williams was traded to the Nets who were at the time still stuck in New Jersey. Then came the Joe Johnson trade in July of 2012. Last year was the addition of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, and during it all were little pieces here and there like Andray Blatche, Shaun Livingston and Andrei Kirlenko that added to the project. Ever since that Russian guy with the money took over, the Nets have been destined for a super team. With a guy so willing to blow dollars on names, inevitably, the team was bound to have a roster like this eventually. Luckily for them, it happened at the right time and with the perfect blend of players. The Nets essentially copied Miami’s construction of their team. They pulled together a bunch of stars and surrounded them with veterans. Brooklyn’s project was doubted and rough in the beginning, but they came together, found their niche, and find themselves as the team with the best chance to knock off Miami before they even get started. Why do you ask? Well if you’ve read this far, mazel tov to you, I appreciate the commitment to a 16-year old’s craft, and because you probably are wondering, I will tell you.
Also, just a side note. How cool is it gonna be to see a whole playoff series with nicknames on the back. Yeah… I know.
First of all, the Nets proved they could beat the Heat. They swept them in the regular season, the only team to do so since the Big 3 got together in 2010. If we take a couple of steps back from the computer screen and the TV, and put that in perspective, Dwyane Wade and Garnett both missed 2 games. Mario Chalmers and Deron Williams each missed 1 a piece. It’s not the same. Not to mention regular season basketball for the Heat is usually when the “off switch” is on. Wait that’s confusing. It’s usually when they’re turned off? Whatever. Anyway, a sweep looks good for Brooklyn but it’s not everything and if I hear one more person spit obnoxiously in my face and scream, “THE NETS ARE GONNA BEAT THE HEAT! THEY SWEPT THEM IN THE REGULAR SEASON!” I might have to stab myself in the face with a knife.
Anyway, the Nets are going to win this series because they hate Miami, and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have always had a thing for crushing Lebron’s dreams… There was 2008 in the Conference Semis… And then 2010 in the Conference Semis. And now look where we are. The Conference Semis! And look who’s on the opposite team! Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce! The main culprits! Even Dwyane Wade said he thought they had buried those two. But no, just like zombies, they have come back to life. It’s almost a funny zombie movie spoof. Kevin Garnett (37) and Paul Pierce (36) can’t fully die until they live out their life’s purpose, to make sure Lebron doesn’t win again. Anyway, KG and Paul Pierce get on his nerves. They know how he plays. They live to defeat him. It’s rubbed off on the rest of the team and they want nothing more than to beat the Heat. But wanting doesn’t mean they’ll win! Oh no!
Brooklyn can match-up with Lebron in many ways. They can catapult different defenders at him from the bench all series. Kirlenko and his uncannily straightened and golden lox are there to stop him with savviness and length. Joe Johnson is there, well hopefully for the Nets’ sake he’s not on Lebron. Shaun Livingston has the size and quickness to keep up with him. Paul Pierce has the ability to bother him as he has done before. You get the idea. They have a plethora (my favorite word) of defenders they can slow Lebron with, and can shuffle them in and out to continue giving him different looks throughout the series. Dwyane Wade will have issues in this series, because he won’t be guarded by Gerald Henderson… Either it’s Joe, or Shaun for most of the series, both guys with a few inches on Little O’l Flash. The Nets also have the ability to play small with Lebron and the Heat, something that the Heat have beat teams with in the past. The Nets can play Garnett, Pierce, Johnson, Livingston and Williams. They can replace Garnett with Plumlee. They can even put Blatche in there to get out to Bosh on the perimeter. If they want they have the ability to play a big lineup and bother the Heat with extra size in the paint, and play a double big man lineup if they want. The Nets have the pieces to match up with whatever the Heat throw at them.
Brooklyn is stingy defensively. They’re tough, they wear really gross faces when they play defense, and yell things and pound their chest and probably slap the floor on defensive drills in practice. They turn the ball over 14 times a game, meaning the Heat’s fast break opportunities are going to be severely limited. They allow 99 points per game. They are long on the perimeter, they swipe the ball 9 times a game. They attack in many different ways and have a stronger more well-rounded bench then those minimum wage guys down in Miami. The Nets don’t run pick n rolls, which is just wonderful when playing Miami who are monsters defending it, with traps, hard hedges and all kinds of cool stuff. The Nets set a lot of off ball screens, they have a lot of cuts to the basket, a lot of isolation style stuff, which is great because one-on-one the only defender they really have to worry about is LeBron and Battier. They also slow the pace down a lot and will do that in this series to prevent Miami from getting out on the break. That’s fine for Miami, but it isn’t ideal. They like to run off of turnovers, and push the pace but Brooklyn, with an average age of like 85 like to play slowly and methodically, maybe even lull the Heat into off mode.
The Nets don’t have to worry about rebounding, not that they do anyway. But the Heat are atrocious rebounders, so the boards won’t be a huge deal for Brooklyn to win. In the paint the Nets are good at protecting the rim as well as helping to open shooters and getting their hands in passing lanes.
If you want to look at this pessimistically, then we could say the Heat’s shooters are just waiting to explode and the Heat do have LeBron James. However, I look at these Nets like a hybrid of the 2011 Mavericks. They don’t run the fastest. They don’t jump the highest. But they work hard, they play defense, they play the right way and are perfectly equipped to send Miami back to their beach houses and pretty wives and sports cars and nice weather… Wait, I thought losing was supposed to sound bad?
Anyway. Final prediction? Nets in 7.