The Brooklyn Nets had a lackluster fourth quarter as they tried to come back. They were outplayed by the Milwaukee Bucks all night but stuck around for three quarters to lose 104-89 in Game 6. Giannis Antetokounmpo wasn’t even their best player–Khris Middleton went off with 38 points while Antetokounmpo only had 30. However, Antetokounmpo had 17 rebounds while Middleton had 10. Kevin Durant had 32 points and 11 rebounds in a double-double performance. Durant was a step down from where he was in Game 5, but it’s not easy to replicate a 49-point, 17-rebound, and 10-assist performance. James Harden is still hurt. He was better tonight, but not even 80% fit. As a result, Game 7 is on Saturday. The season will be on the line as both teams will look to advance.
Game 7 is massively important and it is unlikely that Kyrie Irving will play. But, that may not be a good idea considering two of the Big Three would be playing hurt. It certainly won’t be easy. One team is more healthy than the other, and even though the Nets are more talented health in the playoffs is key. The Nets also need other guys like Joe Harris to step up. Harris has not played well in this series and has been sub-par from three. If the Nets want any chance to win Game 7, they’ll need big contributions from their depth. Additionally, an improved defence would help greatly.
Giannis Antentokounmpo is a force to be reckoned with. He’s certainly a top-5 player in the NBA but the Nets need to be better at keeping him out of the paint. They need to keep forcing him to take three-pointers or mid-rangers, as those shots don’t do so much damage. Throughout this series, Antentokounmpo has beaten them inside. The biggest problem is who’s going to guard him. Brooklyn doesn’t have that guy. Is Durant going to be able to contain him? There is no saying he’ll be able to, so maybe the Nets should try Nicolas Claxton. He’s similar in height to Antentokounmpo and is a very good defensive player. The problem is the fact that the Nets have a small-ball algorithm, which means it limits their ability to stop players like Antentokounmpo. Even though he may be a young and inexperienced player, Claxton is the best option.
Brooklyn Needs Better Starts
Throughout the past four games, the Nets have been awful in the first quarter. They can’t let that happen in Game 7. Finding themselves down double-digits after the first quarter is just unacceptable. It can’t be expected for the team to come back in the second half every single game. Durant’s back can’t do so much carrying in late-game situations. The Nets have rarely lost this season when they get a good start. This is the playoffs, not the regular season. They have to give it their all during the entire game. It would be beneficial if they didn’t find themselves coming from behind every night.
Game 7 is on Saturday at 8:30 PM. The Nets are at home, where they are significantly better. That being said, there’s a lot on the line. This team’s championship aspirations come down to one game. If they lose, they’re done. Simply enough, everyone needs to step up their game and live up to the moment.