The Brooklyn Nets got it done vs. Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. With the 115-108 win over J.B. Bickerstaff’s squad, Brooklyn advances out of the Play-In. They are now officially the seven seed in the playoffs and prepare for the second seed Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics. And that matchup has already caused a mini drama in the Nets’ locker room.

After the win, Bruce Brown was the first Nets player up to the post game podium. And he shared, unprompted, that he “flirted” with a triple-double. Brown dropped 18 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists. He was clearly feeling himself a little bit. The last time they played the Cavs Brown nearly had a triple double. And he was darn close again this time. And may have taken a bit of trash talk further than Kevin Durant wanted him to.

Remember there is history here. KD had a savage clap back on Brown for being overly eager for his triple-double a couple games ago. So Durant has no issue pulling rank on Brown.

Anyway, fast forward to Tuesday, after the biggest victory of the season. Brown was asked what will be the key to stopping the Celts.

“Ummm, I mean, we can’t let Tatum get 50, we gotta be physical with him. Now they don’t have Robert Williams so they have less of a presence in the paint. And we can attack Al Horford and [Daniel] Theis,” Brown said, not afraid to highlight who they intend to target. “So them not having Robert Williams is huge.”

KD finished the game with 25 points, 11 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks. He was locked in as a rim protector and as a playmaker and distributor. The Cavaliers Tuesday had a pretty different strategy from the last times these teams met, the penultimate game of the regular season.

In the prior meeting, Durant was lethal as a scorer and wound up with 35 points. But Bickerstaff must have seen the Indiana Pacers sell out to slow down Slim Reaper. Cleveland used much more doubles and shadowing. That tempted Durant into passing. And it worked out for the Nets. KD picked his spots and found teammates when he needed to.

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But after the game, Durant heard what Brown had to say about targeting Al Horford and Daniel Theis on the Celtics and was not having it. “Yeah, what did Bruce Brown say?” Durant asked reporters as soon as he came out. “When he came out here… he said something I didn’t like.”

Reporters told Durant what Brown said about attacking the Celtics bigs. “All right man, that’s caffeine pride talking, he takes some before the game,” Durant said with a hint of a grin. Reporters started cracking up. “Those two dudes [Horford and Theis] can do the same stuff [as Williams],” Durant said. Always the diplomat.

KD, now in his 14th season, knows the appropriate way to talk smack. Don’t get it twisted. He talks plenty of trash. And he actually prefers it when teams talk some to him. Remember his savage wish from the Utah Jazz players? 

But apparently, this pre-series smack isn’t what he’s about. “It ain’t gonna be that easy, I’ll tell you that,” Durant said. He clearly has the utmost respect for a vet like Horford, who has been one of the top two-way centers in the NBA for the majority of Durant’s own career. Horford was the player selected one spot after KD back in 2007.

Durant clearly wasn’t furious. A reporter said he could tell Kev was half-joking and KD let out a sly grin. But the reporter pressed anyway. What didn’t you not like about what Brown said?

“I mean, we respect our opponent. We don’t need to talk about what we gonna do to them. I just don’t like that,” Durant said. “But that’s just how Bruce is. He comes in and he keeps the same energy throughout the whole season so, yeah like, but we don’t need to say s–t like that. Let’s just go out there and hoop.”

So maybe it was too direct. Maybe it was that it reveals an actual strategy the Nets may use. Maybe he has a code that he only talks trash on the court but not in front of microphones. He certainly isn’t shy to tell a dude he’s “too tiny” to guard me, like when Evan Fournier was trying to check KD.

But this did not fly. Got that Bruce? That we’re writing this article probably makes a bigger deal out of the whole thing than it was to the players. KD really likes Brown, you can tell. But he had to crack the seniority whip on this one. But it will be fascinating now to see how Horford and Theis react to Brown when he first tries to finish at the rim.