Ever since James Harden joined Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, every Nets game has been a must-watch affair.
The first reason is obvious. Brooklyn’s Big Three might be the greatest offensive trio put together in NBA history. Each of them has an elite skillset and has different ways to make buckets.
There were, and are, questions about how the three superstars will share the ball. But honestly, it’s looking like we’re seeing who is going to sacrifice for team success. If Harden continues embracing a lesser role and being more of a facilitatory (let’s remember that he leads the NBA in assists per game), I’m pretty sure they’re going to figure things out on the offensive end.
This was evident in today’s victory against the LA Clippers, where the Nets went on a 21-7 run in the fourth quarter.
That sequence saw:
- A pull-up jumper from Durant
- A three from Irving
- An acrobatic shot from Irving
- A stepback three from Irving
- A stepback three from Harden
- Another pull-up from Durant
- Three free throws for Harden that came from a foul on, you guessed it, another setback three
- A pull-up three from Durant
The Nets almost blew the game, though, thanks to another perplexing stretch in the closing moments. With a 118-114 lead with 32 seconds left, Harden was called for an offensive foul, which translated into a Paul George three to make it 118-117 with 24.8 seconds left. They managed to hold on for a 124-120 win.
This leads to the second reason that the Nets are fun to watch.
As good as they are on the offensive end, their defense is often atrocious. Since Irving’s return from his self-imposed exile, the Nets have played eight games.
In that stretch, their opponents have failed to hit a minimum of 120 points once. That was a 98-95 win against the Heat.
That means every time you watch a Nets game, one of two things will happen. You’re either going to see a combo of Harden, Irving, and Durant go off, or you’re going to watch their opponents torch the Nets’ ridiculous defense.
Maybe it’s a fitting kind of style for a team coached by Steve Nash, who was the point guard for that famous “Seven Seconds or Less” team that terrorized the Western Conference in the 2000s.
It’s a bit different though, because even though that Suns team moved and shot the ball fast, with a league-leading offensive rating of 114.5 points per possession in Nash’s first MVP season in 2004-05, their defensive rating (107.1) was respectable and was 17th in the NBA.
In contrast, the 2020-21 Nets do lead the league with an offensive rating of 122.2, but are also near at the bottom in 28th place with a 117.7 defensive rating.
The other two teams that they’re battling in the bottom three are the Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings. The former beat them 149-146 a couple of days ago.
Even more shockingly, the Nets have allowed 147 points or more twice times in this eight-game stretch. In addition to the loss to the Wizards, it also happened when Collin Sexton lost his mind and led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 147-135 victory overtime victory.
We’ve still got a lot of the regular season left to play, so we definitely don’t have a clear picture of how the Nets are going to look come playoff time. They might just figure it out on defence, or at the very least stop some of the leaks.
One thing is for certain: you don’t want to miss a single Nets game this year. It’s almost impossible that a Brooklyn game won’t be entertaining.