Saturday night was a complete team effort for Brooklyn as they put together their best game of the Playoffs thus far. All of the team’s most important pieces contributed in some fashion. The Nets knew what was on the line; they stepped up and conquered their biggest foe when their backs were against the wall. The way Brooklyn played in Game Three is the exact reason why most critics think that they have the best chance to take down Miami in the East. But what does the Game Three win really mean going forward? Can the Nets do it again on Monday night to pull the series back to even? Here are 5 burning questions that will be answered tonight:
Can Brooklyn get another total team effort that’s necessary to win Game Four?
Everything was working in Game Three for Brooklyn offensively. Joe Johnson was lights out in the first half when he made his first 4 three point shots and led the team with 19 points. Andray Blatche had his best playoff performance, scoring 15 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Pierce did what was expected of him and he was the vocal leader on the floor while scoring 14. The Nets had six players in double figures on Saturday night and actually had eight different guys score eight or more points. They hit all of the big shots that were essential to win an intense playoff game at home. Brooklyn must play like they did in Game Three if they want to even this series up and become a real threat of knocking off the champs. They came out of the gates guns blazing last game and the pressure is on to prove that Saturday was no fluke.
Which Brooklyn lineup gives them the best shot to win?
The outcome of Game Three was aided by the bench play of the Nets that included a spectacular night from Blatche and another great shooting display by Teletovic. The offense was hitting on all cylinders in the first half when Blatche was able to put up points in a hurry. He was able to get to the line against Miami’s smaller defenders and scored 7 points in his first two minutes of action. He took it upon himself to kick start the offense and was a much better option than Garnett or Plumlee. Blatche should see consistent minutes tonight and has the chance to be a major factor if he is looking for his shot. But another option for Brooklyn is to go small and put Teletovic at the center position, a lineup they went with during a huge 3rd quarter. He stretches the floor for the Nets and has given the Heat all kinds of fits with his outside shooting. Defensively he may not be the best option but he gives them instant offense and is a sparkplug when the team starts to simply go through the motions. It will be interesting to see what combination Kidd goes with down the stretch if the game is tight.
And while we’re here, Teletovic’s play over the past two games has been something that was completely unexpected and he is turning into a league favorite. But he’s still missing something. This guy needs to become marketable! The missing marketing ingredient is a quick nickname that he can be associated with whenever he gets on these types of hot streaks. His potential new nickname was mentioned in the Game Two recap article and we settled with the simple “T-Vic”. But a reader sent over a tweet suggesting something way better. From now on we’re going with “The Tellyphone”, because he’s always dialing long distance. Maybe he can be a spokesperson for a revitalized 1-800-COLLECT campaign. Thinking about it… ok maybe we still have some work to do with this nickname. Check back at a later date for updates on this pressing matter.
Will this be the game where Lebron completely takes over?
The best player on the planet was on cruise control in the first two games of the series, and then looked as if he was going to have his signature playoff explosion on Saturday night. Only he stopped being assertive in the 2nd and handed the reigns over to Wade to get going offensively. James scored 16 points in the 1st quarter with ease and was on pace to carry the Heat to a 3-0 series lead. But he only took one shot in the 2nd quarter as he was looking to distribute to his teammates more than he was looking to take over. He has the ability to absolutely control a game and Game Three might have been his wake up call. The Heat didn’t need him to carry them in the first two games but will likely look to him more tonight, especially if they get behind early. James can score the ball at will no matter who is in front of him and going back home tied is something that he may refuse to let happen on his watch.
Why does Alonzo Mourning still have a flip phone?
Ok so may this probably isn’t one of the questions Jason Kidd is addressing in his game plan for tonight but I can’t simply look the other way on this one. The cameras cut to Mourning sitting next to Pat Riley in the 4th quarter of Game Three and he was clearly seen texting on a flip phone while holding a different phone in his other hand. Now I realize he’s a business man so it might be necessary to have two phones but why does one have to be a 2004 Samsung model? Maybe he has it because it is simple and he’s a simple man. Maybe he has it because his fingers are too big for a touch screen. Hell, maybe he and Tim Hardaway have a walkie-talkie like system with old flip phones so they can talk about the good ole days. We’ll probably never know. But it is definitely something to keep an eye out for in Game Four.