The Brooklyn Nets find their backs against the wall just two games into the postseason. After seemingly saving themselves for the playoffs all year, Brooklyn is in danger of being a first-round exit. The Boston Celtics have put together an impressive game plan to stop the Nets superstar duo and secured a victory in the first two games as a result. Both teams will return to Brooklyn for Game 3 in a matchup that the Nets desperately need to win. With little room for error to keep their playoff hopes alive, here is what to expect from the Nets in Game 3.
Nets predictions for Game 3 vs. Celtics
Nets Win by 10+ Points
The Boston Celtics are a very good basketball team, but so are the Brooklyn Nets. The Celtics have kept Brooklyn almost entirely in check through the first two games, but the Nets are too talented for this to be sustainable. Look for Brooklyn to start from scratch and find ways to utilize its offensive weapons much more effectively. Celtics’ Head Coach Ime Udoka has impressed so far this series with his game plan, but it is time for Steve Nash to make adjustments.
The Nets will also be looking forward to getting back in front of their home fans. The hostility of the Celtics fans has made its impact on the Nets’ play and Kyrie Irving’s pockets. Don’t expect Kyrie to throw up any middle fingers in Brooklyn and for there to be a much more composed sense surrounding the team. The Nets will get back to the dominant team they are capable of being and secure a comfortable victory in Game 3.
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Kevin Durant Scores 30+
When searching for the Nets’ problems, it is clear Kevin Durant has played a major role. While he is arguably the best scorer of all time and has had a terrific overall season, KD has failed to get going in this opening series. Durant is still averaging 25 points across the first two games of the series but has been inefficient in his shooting. He also has turned the ball over 12 times.
Durant has shot just 13-41 (31.7%) from the field so far this series. He only connected on two three-pointers as well. Given the isolation-heavy nature of Brooklyn’s offense, the Nets need Durant to get going. The 4-time scoring champ and former MVP is too good to shoot this poorly for long and Game 3 is a perfect time to do just this. Expect Durant to get back to his typical production and score 30 points with ease in the matchup.
"When you're a prolific scorer like Kevin Durant, the defense never shuts you down. That's the mentality we have… I wouldn't say they shut him down."
Shaq still believes in KD despite his 13-of-41 (31.7%) shooting in Games 1 and 2 vs. the Celtics.pic.twitter.com/ma2kNFsKdz
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) April 21, 2022
Bruce Brown will tally 8+ assists
The struggles of Kevin Durant should not overshadow some of the other players who have been successful in the series. One example of this is Bruce Brown who has established himself as a superstar in his role. With Ben Simmons unlikely to make his return just yet, the Miami product will continue to get extended time. Brown will be riding the momentum of an incredible performance in Game 2 in which he tallied 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists.
A familiar sight @BruceBrown11 ➡️ @_claxton33 pic.twitter.com/aiF9CPrbwS
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) April 21, 2022
The scoring pop he was able to provide in Game 2 was a major lift to the Nets. It also could have an even bigger effect on how the Celtics guard Brown moving forward. One of the most effective plays in the Nets playbook has been spacing the floor and cycling Brown so he can attack downhill. This creates issues as it forces the defender to make a difficult decision on who to guard. The Nets have a player in the dunker spot prepared for a lob, and the floater is open for Brown to take as well.
The scoring ability Brown displayed in Game 2 should make the Celtics defenders prioritize his shooting more and could open up the lob pass. Some sort of variation of this play is used often by the Nets, so look for Brown to be active once again. With larger defensive attention being paid to Brown, he will have the opportunity to drop lobs on a regular basis and pad his assists total. Expect Bruce Brown to be more active as a passer and for Nik Claxton to be the beneficiary of many of these plays.
The playoffs have not gone according to plan for the Nets so far but there is still time to right the ship. Winning two straight games at home would put them back in a solid position and tie the series at two games apiece. This starts with an improved effort in Game 3, so look for the Nets to do just this.