The excuse for Game One against Miami was that it was a feeling out process. There would be some changes made in the second game of the series and everything would be alright. But the few subtle changes that were made were not enough to stop Brooklyn from having déjà vu in Game Two. It was the same song with a different melody on Thursday night as the Heat have now taken a 2-0 series lead heading into the Barclays Center. The game was close throughout but there was a lingering sense that Miami simply had to flip the switch down the stretch to pull off the victory, and that is exactly what happened. The Heat put together a total team effort from buzzer to buzzer while the Nets had to rely on role players to keep the game competitive. There is still hope that this series can be tied up in a few short days but they first must look at what exactly went wrong for them in Game Two.
Pierce and Garnett were brought in for this specific series but…
The Truth and the Big Ticket were not able to provide their usual heroics and step up in a meaningful game when it mattered the most. These two players made careers out of hitting big shots, grabbing big rebounds, and overall willing teams to victory. Brooklyn needs all of those skills and more against Miami. Garnett was looking for his shot more last night but it just wasn’t falling as he went 2-8 from the floor and didn’t get a basket until early in the 3rd quarter. He was able to grab five offensive rebounds but wasn’t putting them in the hoop like we have grown accustomed to. The knock on Pierce, as well as Garnett, is that his body is breaking down and he simply isn’t able to be as effective as he once was. But Pierce’s minutes were limited during the season for this exact scenario. He defended Lebron admirably, which had to take a toll on his offensive game. Quite simply, the two veterans must show up for the rest of the series and give it their all, because this might be the last chance they ever have.
The Nets found a different Agent Zero
The theme of this Eastern Conference Semifinals series for the Nets is turning into “Which key player is going to disappear?”. Last night is a night that Deron Williams must completely forget if he wants to bounce back in Brooklyn. Williams went 0-9 from the floor, didn’t get to the free throw line once, and had a plus-minus of -18. Statistically, it might have been his worst game since the 7th grade when he ate too much pizza before a game because he was at a birthday party (Don’t fact check that, things like that happen to every 7th grader at some point right?). After a solid Game One, Williams completely disappeared offensively and looked a step slow on the defensive end. The missing Deron Williams jokes are running wild on the internet and he didn’t do anything to disprove them on Thursday night. When Williams is right, then the Nets run more efficiently. D-Will needs to throw the game footage away from last night and move on. It can only get better from here.
Mirza Teletovic put on a shooting clinic last night! He and Shaun Livingston were the two players who were really able to shine for Brooklyn in Game Two. Teletovic was lights out in the 2nd quarter and wasn’t hesitant to shoot at all, nor should he have been after burying a few from long range. He drained 5 three-pointers in the first half while putting in the first 4 that he shot. He was in a shooting zone and rhythm that couldn’t be handled by any defender. He ended the game going 6-9 from downtown and scored a team high 20 points. He was a part of a solid showing from Brooklyn’s 2nd unit that was outplayed in the first game. If Teletovic didn’t shoot out of his mind last night, then Brooklyn probably loses by 20. Hats off to the Yugoslavian sharpshooter as he had the best performance by any Net, which is a major problem considering the amount of salary between their top four players.
Actually, after that shooting display- Teletovic needs a nickname. Wait, he wore “MT3” on the back of his jersey earlier this year when they did the nickname jersey thing? I’m not even sure how that nickname makes sense or if he even picked it out. Does it mean he hits a lot of three pointers or is it a subtle play on Montana being his 3rd favorite state? Regardless, that name isn’t worthy after last night. From now on, we’re going with a simple nickname of T-Vic. Alert all of the media!
Play like a team
Playing like a team is advice that is much easier said than done but it must be mentioned after the first two games of the series. Sure, the Nets had five players score in double figures but they also had Deron Williams and Kevin Garnett combine for 4 total points. They can’t rely on another insane game from T-Vic and they need at least 60 points from their starters to compete the rest of the way. It should be a matter of pride for the Nets to go out and play 48 minutes of strong basketball against the two-time defending champions. The starters got off to a slow start at the beginning of the game as well as the beginning of the first half, which is a time that they should all be fresh and have an offensive game plan on how to get some quick baskets. They will need an entire team effort to win a game in this series. The Heat are playing exactly like a team should without having to really think about it. Jason Kidd may want to take some notes from Spoelstra to improve the flow of the game. There is no time like the present Brooklyn, because it is a must win game on Saturday night.