The Nets Can Look To The Rangers For Survival Hope

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    Updated: May 14, 2014
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    The Brooklyn Nets and New York Rangers have two things in common. First, they both call the great city of New York home. And second, they both have rosters that contain playoff savvy veterans who have won rings.

    Last night on the road in a difficult win or go home game 7, the New York Rangers came through and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.

    I have no idea if any of the Nets players watch hockey, but I hope they saw or at least heard that the Rangers came back from being down 3-1 to win their series.

    The Rangers are just 8 wins away from a Stanley Cup trophy. In sports, anything is possible, and the Nets must believe that starting with tonight’s game 5 in Miami.

     

    The Rangers Beat Crosby…the Nets Can Beat LeBron 

    Sidney Crosby is the poster boy of the National Hockey League and the best player in the league.

    He’s won an MVP, he’s won a gold medal for Canada and he’s lifted Lord Stanley’s Cup as captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He’s already an all-time great in my book, but he did his club no favors in the second round against the Rangers.

    When his team needed him most he disappeared and has only scored 1 goal in his last 17-playoff games.

    Unfortunately for the Brooklyn Nets, they are playing LeBron James, and James is not suffering from any sort of slump and is dead set on dragging his team to the next round all on his own. So far he is doing an amazing job of it. 

    King James went off for a ridiculous 49 points in Game 4 against the Nets, and the worst part about that point explosion was the person guarding him, Paul Pierce.

    Pierce asked for LeBron guarding duties before game 4 and Jason Kidd gladly obliged, and Bron made them pay for it.

    But with that being said, in Game 3 when the Nets took the game to Heat and won comfortably, LeBron also started off hot but cooled off in the latter three-quarters.

    The reason for this is because the Nets had Shaun Livingston, Mirza Teletovic Paul Pierce, Allen Anderson and Joe Johnson take turns slowing down King James. Paul Pierce is in his late 30’s and has no business being the primary option for stopping Bron.

    That was hubris on the part of Pierce that went horribly wrong for the Nets. Kidd must study the tape of Game 3 and key back in with the defensive schemes that gave James the most problems in Game 3. 

    The Nets may also have LeBron being fatigued as a factor in Game 5. This series for the Heat is looking a lot like the Cleveland Cavaliers teams that LeBron was a part of in his younger days.

    Bron is averaging 40 minutes a game but in that 40 minutes he is averaging only 3 assists to 2 turnovers. Why is that?

    Because he has to carry the load and none of his teammates are involved. Just like in Cleveland before Bron left. When James has games like Game 4, he becomes Kevin Durant, Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, an assassin that can’t be stopped.

    But LeBron is more Magic Johnson than Michael Jordan. When Bron goes nuclear, his teammates turn into spectators and are out of rhythm when they get the ball. The Nets stayed close because of this.

    The Nets needs to slow Bron down a step while also playing the kind of defense they played in games 2 and 3.

    Bron can have another great scoring game, well not 49 points of course, but anything short of that, coupled with less involvement from other Heat players works out in the Nets favor.

    If Bron would have only scored 40 points in Game 3, the Nets would be going back to Miami for game 5 tied 2-2. It’s impossible to stop LeBron, but holding him up while stopping him from getting the ball to wide-open teammates is possible.

    And if that happens, there will be more game 3 results.

     

    Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, Meet Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards 

    Both duos have won a championship playing together. Richards and St. Louis won the Cup in 2004 with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Pierce and KG won theirs together in 2008 with the Boston Celtics.

    Both Richards and St. Louis came up big in game 6 and 7 for the Rangers, and now Garnett and Pierce must do the same for Nets in Game 5 and moving forward.

    Paul Pierce famously said in game 1 in the Toronto Raptors series, “This is why they brought me here” when he exploded in that fourth quarter.

    No Paul, elimination games when our backs are up against the wall are why the Nets brought you here. We need Pierce to have moments like in game 7 of the Raptors series where he had the series saving block.

    No one cares what happens in game 1, what happens in elimination games is what’s important.

    And tonight, Pierce and KG have to be the backbone for this team.

    They came to Brooklyn for another shot at taking down LeBron James, Wade, Bosh and their old brother in arms, Ray Allen.

    Deron Williams is supposed to be the leader of this team but he’s been in and out of being productive during the playoffs. Joe Johnson has played great but he has no championship pedigree for the rest of the team to lean on.

    Pierce and KG must be there in crunch time to push the rest of the team.

    The Nets beat the Heat 4 times during the season, and could be tied 2-2 had late game execution gone better at the end of game 4. This is not the juggernaut 2012 Heat team the world was scared of.

    This Heat team can be beaten, and Pierce and KG must be the catalyst for one of the greatest comebacks in NBA history.

    But nothing is possible for the Nets without their championship duo Pierce and Garnett.

    The Rangers survived because their veterans came up big when necessary. And tonight, KG and Pierce must do the same. 

    Nets fans, remain optimistic. As a Rangers fan I was behind my Blueshirts from the drop of the puck in Game 5 until Henrik Lundqvuist’ final save in game 7 in Pittsburgh.

    I will have the same faith from opening tip-off in game 5 until the game winning shot by Pierce or Joe Johnson in game 7.

    It’s sports, anything can happen. And tonight will be the start of proving that. LET’S GO NETS!

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