After a long three months, the Brooklyn Nets are regaining their team at the perfect time as they expect to approach a strong playoff run. It’s fair to say with a healthy Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden playing on the same floor together that the Nets have the strongest offensive team in the playoffs.
The Brooklyn nets are regaining their team at a perfect time for a confident playoff run.
The Brooklyn Nets had their Big 3 available to play this weekend for the first time since February. Mainly caused by lingering hamstring strains to Durant and Harden that had them sidelined for 41 games combined. As a result, the Big 3 have only played eight games together this season.
The Nets’ Big 3 struggled in their first game back in three months. Harden made two shots on the night for five points, while Durant added 12 points on four baskets. Irving was able to produce 22 points in the Big 3’s return.
It’s worth mentioning that this roster is completely different than it was three months ago. The Big 3 hadn’t yet played with some of the new additions to the team like Blake Griffin and Mike James. It’s fair to say that Brooklyn is still learning who they are as a team, even with the playoffs just around the corner.
Although Brooklyn is ranked at the bottom of the league in overall defense, they make up for it by having the best-ranked offense in the association this year. The Nets are sporting a league-best 118.2 offensive rating with a defensive rating of 113.9 this season.
It’s fair to say that with all of the offensive firepower and little defensive identity that the Nets expect to win games on the offensive end of the floor. Which has worked well throughout the season. In doing so, the Big 3 of Durant, Harden, and Irving are all scoring over 24 points per game while shooting over 36 percent from behind the arc this season.
Not to mention the stacked team that completes the rest of Brooklyn’s roster. Players like Blake Griffin, Jeff Green, Nicolas Claxton, and Mike James have all been solid contributors off the bench and found themselves in the starting lineup from time to time this season as well.
What’s been most notable is how the Nets excelled once Harden solidified himself as the team’s point guard. In the games that the Durant-Harden-Irving trio have played together, Harden has been efficient in making sure that he gets everybody involved as he’s the team’s elite playmaker.
In this February interview, Harden acknowledged the Nets are confidently stacked offensively but that they also need to improve and focus more on the defensive side of the court.
“I came to this team knowing that they have two special scorers on this team. Obviously, I score when I need to, but as long as I’m getting everybody involved and Ky is getting the shots that he wants, KD is getting the shots that he wants, it’s pretty efficient. Offensively is not the problem for us, we can score in bunches; it’s defensively.” – James Harden, via Malika Andrews of ESPN
The Brooklyn Nets have an opportunity to secure the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, which would give them home-court advantage in the second round. But it comes down to the Milwaukee Bucks, who hold a tiebreaker. If the Bucks win on Sunday night, the path in the playoffs changes for Brooklyn.