The Wizards have been the most popular crew within the league heading within the playoffs. Washington completed the season 17-6 powered by the league’s second main scorer in Bradley Beal and the NBA’s whirling dervish, Russell Westbrook who once more completed the 12 months averaging a triple double.
And even with the Celtics limping to the postseason with quite a lot of accidents, some nagging, others extra consequential, they dispatched the 8-seed in a 118-100 blowout within the play-in event.
However that was one recreation. Anyone can get scorching for one recreation and Jayson Tatum did to the tune of fifty factors on Tuesday evening. That precise playoffs and beating a crew 4 instances in a seven-game sequence is one thing else.
Head coach Brad Stevens is aware of this heading right into a formidable matchup with the Brooklyn Nets. He referred to as them “most likely essentially the most gifted crew that’s been put collectively since I’ve been within the NBA.” Now, tasked with stopping two former MVP’s and a two-time All-NBA participant that he used to educate in Boston, he is aware of that his younger Celtics crew should be almost good to drag off the upset.
“You gotta make the whole lot as troublesome as doable. It’s simpler stated than achieved. They’re the type of crew that you just’re going to should problem the whole lot. You’re going to should maintain the basketball. You’re going to should dash to remove any simple transition baskets. You’re going to have to remove simple baskets on cuts and rebounds, as a result of in the event that they’re in a position so as to add up a lot of simple baskets that manner via their motor and vitality and a scarcity of enjoying the correct manner on our half, then that turns into all these different photographs that they make turn into an excessive amount of to beat,” Stevens stated.
Via the complete 12 months, the Nets had essentially the most environment friendly offense within the league at 117.3 factors per 100 possessions. By comparability, Boston clocked in at 113.1. That’s solely a four-point distinction, however there’s an explosiveness to Brooklyn’s assault that may demoralize any crew.
Towards the Celtics, the Nets averaged 20.3 quick break factors of their three wins, most given as much as a crew by Boston all 12 months. They shot a blistering 43.7% from behind the arc and went to the road 27 instances per recreation. For Boston to also have a likelihood to steal a single recreation, they’ll have to chop down on these simple buckets.
What’s even scarier is that Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden performed solely seven video games collectively.
“In a really perfect world, you wish to keep out of rotations as a lot as doable. That’s why folks all around the league have as many versatile defenders as they’ll the place they swap everywhere and you then try to restrict the rotations as a result of that’s inevitably how groups get layups, threes, and rebounds,” Stevens stated.
“That stated, these guys pressure a few of that with their excellent people: Irving’s means to beat anybody in one-on-one conditions — he’s unimaginable; Durant’s means to shoot over folks and rating in quite a lot of methods; and Harden’s means to do this and lead the league in assists.”
Towards the Wizards, the Celtics survived with primarily an eight-man rotation that included sophomore Romeo Langford and rookie Aaron Nesmith. With Brooklyn’s perimeter assault, anticipate extra of the identical and one other trial by hearth for the Celtics’ younger gamers. It’s a tall job for certain, however the basis of a franchise that has gone to a few convention finals in 4 years remains to be in place.
“This can be a enjoyable problem. They’re a heck of a crew,” Stevens stated. “We now have some guys in right here which have been via some huge time sequence earlier than and have raised their stage to satisfy the second on a number of events and so, I’m actually trying ahead to it.”