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Nets’ Kenny Atkinson happy to have ‘X-factor’ Caris LeVert in the playoffs

Kenny Atkinson, Caris LeVert, Nets

The Brooklyn Nets jumped out to a surprising 1-0 series lead over the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs. Shooting guard Caris LeVert played a key role in the weekend victory, leading Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson to heap serious praise on the up-and-comer.

“He’s kind of an X-factor. He can change the game off the bench,” Atkinson recently told The New York Post. “We didn’t know — is he going to get it back this year? Is he gonna get it back this soon? I was doubtful. I was expecting, ‘Okay, let’s get what we can from him and next year he’ll be great Caris again.’ But it’s huge — the timing of him getting well and playing well and getting back to his old self.”

LeVert suffered a significant leg injury earlier in the season. He somehow managed to return to the Nets’ lineup before the postseason got underway.

“Just struggling coming back,” the aforementioned Atkinson added, via The New York Post. “I don’t know how many games where he wanted it so bad and it wasn’t there in every sense physically, I don’t think, and I think he was pressing us too hard.”

With the Nets going up 1-0 over the 76ers on the road, Brooklyn will play one more game in the City of Brotherly Love before heading back home to Brooklyn. Caris LeVert will need to continue to play well if the Nets are to have a realistic chance of winning this series.