The Nets are Rorschach’s ultimate test in the NBA

On the one hand: a raging inferno. A two-man force journey capable of crushing opponents with perfect offensive play, hitting the toughest shots imaginable, serving teammates to score chances on a silver platter, and looking like the kind of unsolvable fireball that can produce a championship.

On the other hand: a counterproductive engine. A team that stagnates when its thunderbolt planets aren’t firing lightning bolts, makes sloppy flips and makes careless mistakes, and can switch from dominating to giving up 65 points in half at the drop of a dime.

Two sides, but the same coin. Ladies and gentlemen, your Brooklyn Nets: The New Mint No. Ranked #7 in the Eastern Conference playoff bracket, Rorschach’s first Test in the NBA.

The Nets did what everyone expected on Tuesday, defeating the injured Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center, 115-108, in Game One of the 2022 NBA Championship. They did, as everyone expected, based on their attacking power, shooting 53.6 percent from the ground as a team, providing 33 assists in 45 field goals, and setting fire to Cleveland. 119.8 points for every 100 possessionsHead and shoulders above the mark that led the NBA during the regular season.

Kyrie Irving didn’t miss his first shot until just over 10 minutes into the fourth quarter; By that point, he had already hit 12. With Irving’s flames soaring, Kevin Durant had made peace with doing just about anything else — drawing defensive attention and moving the ball to setting up wide-open shots, clearing glass, protecting the edge — and the overall game display he developed while at His path to becoming the best basketball player alive.

When the Cavs cornered Irving in a Pick-and-Roll, Andre Drummond slid into space, received pocket passes, and was thrown in. When they tried to force the ball out of Durant’s hand near half the court, he kicked it forward to Bruce Brown, who sped off to the free throw line, attacked four against three, and took out mincemeat from the Cleveland backline. And when JB Bickerstaff’s team sold out they ran out of stock to close both firsts And The counter, Durant was there, waiting to be reminded of his inevitability.

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Watch the machine work this way, and you’ll start to wonder how any opponent standing in its way could thrive. But then you look at the score, and you realize that KD going to the iso-killer is all that prevented Cleveland from making it a double possession game with less than four minutes to go. And you find yourself wondering why a team with two future Hall of Famers playing out of their minds would have a hard time turning away an opponent who finished the season losing eight of 11, with no. 20 crimes in the last monthand without All-Star player Garrett Allen, who was He has been sidelined for the past five weeks due to a broken finger.

The Cavs . team surrendered 40 points on 23 holdings in the first quarter. They had no answer for Irving, who finished with 34 points from 12 to 15 with 12 assists, or Durant, who added 25 points and 11 assists with five rebounds, three blocks and two steals. During three quarters, they earned a total of 16 points on 25 shots from Caris LeVert, Lauri Markkanen, Isaac Okoro and Cedi Osman – aka a full wing turn.

However, thanks to some uninspiring Brooklyn play in the second and third quarters, and thanks to the blessing of the basketball gods – chiefly a young man named Darius Garland, who picked Cleveland off the carpet with his 24th… His team has 34 points After the break – Cleveland still has a few chances to cut what was once a 22-point lead in Brooklyn within five in the fourth quarter.

But they never could; Each time they tried, the Nets earned a stop or a bucket, putting the Cavs an arm’s length away to reach the last bell, and sending the Cavs into Friday’s elimination game against the Loser on Wednesday’s 9-for-10 match between the Hawks and the Hornets.

Brooklyn doesn’t have to apologize for that; “Survival and Progress” is the name of the game at this time of year, and the Steve Nash crew did just that. However, the Nets gave up 60 points in the paint for the Cavs without an All-Star position. They needed 42 minutes of exceptional play from their two superstars on Tuesday, plus a nearly 40-minute treble from Browns, and quarterbacks Drummond and Nick Claxton combined together for 29 points and 17 rebounds, just to clear the injury-hit side. Who struggles in the half field and works with fumes. Durant sat for just six minutes and 21 seconds against the Cleveland team. Networks ranked higher by nine points. Does this sound like a championship contender to you?

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Regardless, that he is Playoff Team – The team that has now secured a first-round date with the second-seeded Celtics. It is a reversal of the role reversal of last season’s inaugural round series; At that time, the networks were not. 2 seeds. Much has changed.

James Harden, who averaged just under 28 and 11 in that series, is in Philadelphia now. His virtual replacement, Ben Simmons, spent Tuesday at Streetwear the color of envyAnd she hasn’t played a game in the NBA for nearly 10 months. Joe Harris, who played 35 minutes on the night and shot 51.5 percent of 3 in that series, is out for the year. His virtual replacement, Seth Curry, went goalless in 33 minutes on Tuesday, and looked road Less than 100 percent of play is on the left ankle He says it’s been bothering him for months.

Perhaps most importantly, the Celtics don’t start with Romeo Langford and Tristan Thompson, or rely on 15 minutes from Jabari Parker, anymore. They don’t gossip about playoffs; They are rising, entering the post-season as owners not only in the NBA no. 1 defensebut also Best record in the east And Best League Net Ranking Since January 1st.

The Celtics won’t enter the first round in full force, though: Robert Williams 3rd position, one Switch system supports everything They used to stifle feuding fouls, and went on to rehab after missing the last seven games of the season. With a meniscus tear in his left knee. Bruce Brown highlighted the significance of Williams’ injury after Tuesday’s win, telling reporters that with Williams out, the Celtics “Have less presence in the paint,” and that Brooklyn “can attack the Horfords and [Daniel] Thess, “ Williams alternate at 5.

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If that sounds to you like a surprising delivery of billboard material to an opponent who has been one of the top three teams in the NBA for the past three months, you’re not alone. After Brown left the stage, Durant arrived and asked reporters, “What did Bruce Brown say? Someone told me he said something I don’t like.” After hearing the quote, KD shook his head, He dismissed Brown’s assessment as “a proud caffeinated talk”, He gave his own view of Theis and Horford: “They are two men… who can do the same things [as Williams]. It won’t be that easy, I’ll tell you.”

The “same things” are not completely TRUE; Durant knows that neither Theis nor Horford is anywhere near the kind that Williams could be. But he also seems to know that even without the Time Lord, Cs has The top five rating is stressed With the quartet of Jason Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Horford on the floor—and perhaps this, with Theiss in Time Lord’s place, Boston swamped opponents by More than 33 points per 100. The Nets who have to rely on a curvy Curry, protocols for just-emerged COVID Goran Dragic, and rookie Kessler Edwards to survive in non-KD minutes could face some tough sleds against a Boston-caliber opponent. Come Sunday afternoon, those fans who finished Tuesday cheering They want the Celtics They may find themselves wishing they were more careful with what they wish for.

Unless, of course, KD and Kyrie will continue to combine them for nearly 60 points at a 68 percent shooting over the next two months. that we It cannot be completely written off as a possibility This is the reason why many find it so difficult to quit bed nets; Although a win for this team is a prerequisite, that is why so many of them are hard to believe. Whether you think hell or backfiring matters more, they are there; Everything is really there. Competitor or pretender, finalist or fraud: a world of possible outcomes and explanations, all there, in black and white.

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