The 2nd round of the NBA Playoffs is upon us and we can only hope that it is half as good as round one. All four matchups have the potential to be instant classics. But I believe that the Nets-Heat series has the possibility to top them all. These two teams hate each other and some of the players have gone head to head for almost an entire decade. Brooklyn is seen by some to be the biggest threat to taking down Miami in the East, since Indiana struggled to knock off the lowly Atlanta Hawks in the opening round. Miami is still the clear favorite to come out of the East and a Brooklyn win would be the biggest upset of the year. Taking down the two-time defending champions won’t be easy but it also might not be as big of a long shot as the experts are predicting. There are a few major factors that need to be taken into consideration if Brooklyn wants to steal home court in Game One of the series.
The amount of time off for each team The Nets will continue through the regular motions of Playoff basketball as they will only have one day in between Tuesday’s game and Game Seven against the Raptors. Obviously, staying in rhythm is huge for Brooklyn but time off wouldn’t have hurt for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The Heat on the other hand, have had an entire week off to rest and prepare. There is always the argument of whether a lot of time off for a professional athlete works to their advantage or disadvantage. The Heat have been on a consistent grind for three straight seasons while playing in the last three NBA Finals so rest should only benefit the team. Time off is going to be huge for Dwyane Wade as he was on a steady resting schedule throughout the entire season. The numbers are in the Heat’s favor as they are 9-1 when they have three or more days off in between games in the past three regular seasons. We should be able to tell right away in Game 1 whether or not Lebron and company look rusty- but don’t count on it.
Joe Johnson staying hot Johnson has so far had his best postseason to date of his career. He’s averaging a team high 21.6 points per game while shooting almost 52% from the field. He was simply in a zone against Toronto and Brooklyn will need more of the same if they want to move onto to the Eastern Conference Finals. “Joe Cool” is one of the league’s most clutch players and should be looked to get a lot of shots in the fourth quarter if Game One is close.
Can the Nets carry their 4-0 season series momentum with them? The main storyline that is being beaten into the ground by the media is the fact that the Nets swept the Heat four games to none during the season. This was the first time in Lebron’s career that he had lost four games against one team in a single season. For the Nets sake, hopefully King James doesn’t take the season sweep too personally. Can Brooklyn win in the Playoffs the same way they did against Miami four different times? Shake the Magic 8-Ball and signs point to no. It is also worth mentioning that three of the four games were decided by only one point while the other win was in double overtime. We might as well throw the season series out the window because, like every player knows, the Playoffs are a completely different animal.
Deron Williams exploiting his matchup I know I literally just said to throw out the season series but let’s not forget how dreadful Williams was in his three games against the defending champions. He scored a total of 22 points in the three games he played against their 2nd round opponent. Read that again because it isn’t a misprint. The lack of production must change in this series or Brooklyn will get sent home early. He should see a majority of his minutes against the smaller Mario Chalmers so it is vital to get into the post and try to get his offense going early. Williams is Brooklyn’s X-factor and he should take it upon his shoulders to try to steal a game on the road. If Deron wants to be amongst the top point guards in the league, then there is no better place to shine.
We should be in for a treat of a series!
Game One tips at 7:00 pm Eastern at the American Airlines Arena in Miami and can be seen on TNT.