The Brooklyn Nets came that close to blowing it. Luckily for Brooklyn, the Nets were able to pull through with good defense and clutch free throws in the final minute for a 102-98 win, taking a 2-1 series lead.
One thought I woke up with this morning and had to share with other fellow Net fans is that Jason Kidd made all the right adjustments coming off game 2.
I wrote: “Kidd made some great adjustments from game 2. One thing that stuck out to me is how he never just inserted the bench by themselves; it was usually three bench players with either the combination of Livingston/Joe, Livingston/Deron, or Deron/Joe anchoring them.”
It may not seem like a lot, but this was a huge adjustment. After getting away with putting the bench in without any help from the starters for the first five to six minutes of the fourth quarter of game one, Kidd stuck to the same plan during game 2 and it ultimately failed. During games one and two the Nets came into the fourth quarter with leads of five and two points respectively. With a chance to build on both leads Kidd chose to mass substitute the bench in. This caused the lead to dwindle or the game to remain close.
The Nets had an eleven point lead going into the fourth quarter yesterday. The lineup Kidd had on the court was Deron-Joe-Anderson-Mirza-Blatche. That lineup outscored the Raptors by three to zero in the one minute and 31 seconds they were out there, with those three points coming off of a Teletovic three that was assisted by Deron. The lineup of Livingston-Joe-Anderson-Mirza-Blatche was on the floor for the first six minutes and two seconds of the fourth and it outscored the Raptors 11 to 9 during that period. This was a very good and well needed adjustment by the Kidd.
“Brooklyn’s Backcourt” led the way last night and punished the Raptors by combining for 51 points on 18/31 shooting from the floor including 5/9 from deep. Deron Williams had 22 points and 8 assists on 7/14 shooting, while Joe Johnson had 29 points on 11/17 shooting, and 3 of 4 from beyond the arc.
Also, major props to Andray Blatche last night for being aggressive in game 3 on both ends as he attempted the most free throws he’s ever attempted in his playoff career, going 8/8 from the charity stripe. He also played the best defense I’ve ever seen him play yesterday. He was hedging on P&R’s, just doing it all. Masterful performance by him on both ends.
As for Toronto, Demar DeRozan was their main option. DeRozan scored a game high 30 points on 22 shots. Kyle Lowry did not make his usual impact, scoring only 15 points and fouling out. For the 3rd straight game, Jonas Valanciunas recorded a double-double, getting 10 points and 10 rebounds. With Kyle Lowry hobbling for most of the game with what looked like a bruised right knee, the Raptors might need Derozan and Valanciunas to dig deep to be able to come away with a much needed win in game 4 in Brooklyn to avoid going down 3-1 this series.
What were your thoughts on last nights game? Do the Nets need to change anything? Let me know by interacting with me on Twitter to talk Brooklyn basketball @NBATalkWatts