Brooklyn Nets Lose In Valiant Effort to King James

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    Updated: May 13, 2014
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    My hat goes off to the Brooklyn Nets for their performance in Game 4 against the Miami Heat.

    At no point did the Nets ever look like they would simply give up to a superior Miami Heat team.

    The Nets played with heart, played with determination, and they repeatedly weathered the storm that the Heat brought upon them.

    This game came down to a few key factors, and unfortunately all of them weighed in the favor of the Miami Heat, much to the chagrin of Nets nation. But in basketball, those are the breaks.

     

    LeBron James is A Weapon Of Mass Destruction 

    Courtesy of Lebron-j4mes.tumblr.com

    This tweet by Zach Lowe summed up the entire Game 6:

     

    And Zach was absolutely correct. Prior to Game 6, Paul Pierce said he wanted Jason Kidd to let him guard LeBron James.

    If this was 2002 then that would have been superb, but now Pierce is 36 years old and King James is 29 and at the peak of his powers. At any point he chooses James can have a performance like this.

    There are certain defenders like Khawi Leonard or Jimmy Butler that may cause LeBron serious headaches when defending him, but both players are still in their 20’s and can keep up. 

    Pierce was simply outmatched last night, and when Bron gets going like that, look out.

    Pierce picked up two early fouls and LeBron is no dummy, he was a shark from that point on.

    Bron was hitting contested and uncontested three pointers, getting easy lay-ups, driving through the lane like a freight train, and having his way with any defender.

    The Nets severely lacked any help defense when Pierce or Mirza Teletovic were on him and LeBron made them pay.

    The hard part about coming in and using help defense on LeBron is that his vision is like Magic Johnson.

    Bron will spot the double team coming and find an open teammate who will bury a 3 pointer. It’s pick your poison with the Miami Heat. And the Nets got a deadly dose of King James last night to the tune of 49 points.

     

    It Is Games Like This Where Coaching Experience Matters 

    Jason Kidd had a great second half of the NBA season as coach of the Brooklyn Nets.

    The Nets record was great, the players were firing on all cylinders and he was showing the necessary savvy needed to become a successful coach.

    But being an all-time great player and future great coach have two things in common, you must learn from experience in order to better yourself the next go ‘round. The Nets hung with the Heat the entire game.

    When Deron Williams picked up his 4th foul, Kidd looked at him and told him to stay in.

    Jason Kidd Gif

    Deron played great with 4 fouls and the Nets were able to stay competitive all game long.

    But games are not decided in the first three and half quarters of basketball. It’s the late game maneuvering and coaching that makes coaches great and wins championships.

    During the final stretches of the game, both teams looked bad on the offensive end of the court with their late game execution.

    It was to be expected by Jason Kidd, but I was a bit surprised at some of the plays the Heat were running. On two straight possessions the Heat watched as Chris Bosh took 25 foot 3 pointers out of nowhere.

    I have no idea if that’s what Heat coach Erik Spoelstra drew up, or if Bosh forgot LeBron was in beast mode on the court, but Bosh made two bad judgment calls and I was sure it would cost the Heat. But the Nets were unable to capitalize and that is the reason they came up short.

    It is not because LeBron went absolutely insane, because even with Bron being great, the Nets were never out of this game.

    There were times the Nets even had the lead in the 4th. But when it mattered most for someone to draw up a proper play, it was Erik Spoelstra, the battle tested championship winning coach who one upped the inexperienced Jason Kidd.

    Kidd allowed his Nets to play hero/iso-ball in the clutch, and as great as Joe Johnson has been for the Nets, the last few possessions required ball movement and an open look. Iso-ball doesn’t always work and when it does, great.

    But the Nets weren’t iso ball heavy all game so for them to be stagnant on offense late in the game came down to lack of coaching. The shots weren’t dropping for the Nets and only one player touched the ball on each possession. 

    The heat on the other hand, as poor as their prior possessions were, had a play drawn up by Spoelstra that was Gregg Popovich-esqu. The Heat inbounded the ball at half-court, and the Heat set a series of picks that utilized LeBron’s dominance and Chris Bosh’s shooting.

    With the ball in his hand, the Nets players keyed in on Bron.

    And with the way the Heat move the ball around the court the Nets lost track of Bosh and he was quietly sitting in the corner waiting for the ball right in-front of the Nets bench. LeBron found Bosh in the corner for a dagger three pointer with under a minute left and the Heat never looked back.

    The way Spoeltra drew up that play was a work of art.

    It completely caught the Nets off guard and Bosh all but ended the Nets playoff run.

    Kidd will learn from this, he’s too smart not to. But his entire coaching tenure thus far has been a baptism by fire, and he learned coaching the hard way last night. 

    Nets fans should not be angry over the Game 4 loss. We should all be proud that our guys hung in with the great Miami Heat even with LeBron scoring 49 points. This game was ripe for the taking and unfortunately it just didn’t work out in the Nets favor because of the little things.

    The Nets were inexperienced when experienced mattered most.

    The Nets are not done yet, but it’s hard to argue the Heat won’t eventually win this series. I’m all for optimism.

    The Nets beat the Heat four times during the regular season.

    The Nets now have to beat them three straight in order to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

    Is it likely, no. Is it impossible, hell no.

    Stranger things in sports have happened and let’s all hope this series will go down in NBA lore as one of those special series victories that a team down 3-1 came back and won three straight games. 

    If the Nets don’t do the miraculous and win this series, then game 4 will be the game we all look back on and think to ourselves this is the one that got away from us. Such is life, but I am proud of the way the Nets played. And you should be too.

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