2 key adjustments Nets must make after Game 1 blowout loss to Sixers

When the Eastern Conference playoff picture was complete, the Brooklyn Nets found themselves matched up with the Philadelphia 76ers in the 3 vs. 6 matchup for the first round. The fact the Nets are in this position to begin with is a feat on its own considering the squad began a rebuilding process on the fly.

In 2019, Brooklyn decided to swing for the fences, signing forward Kevin Durant and guard Kyrie Irving to long-term free agent contracts. With Durant and Irving, the Nets felt they had the building blocks to win a title or two in the years to follow.

Without revisiting too much of the history that followed the signings, Brooklyn fell far short of their expectations to win NBA championships, and before the trade deadline, the squad decided to move Durant and Irving to the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks, respectively.

It was the end of a tumultuous era, but the beginning of a new one. With the trades, the Nets received a bunch of draft picks, and some good players to keep the ship rolling to a playoff berth.

The fact is when the playoffs begin, everyone is 0-0, and in Brooklyn’s case, they’re already 0-1 after the 121-101 drubbing they took on the road Saturday afternoon. With Game 2 coming Monday night in Philadelphia, the Nets have key adjustments to make if they want to give themselves an opportunity to even the series before the scene shifts to Brooklyn.

What we have to remember is the NBA playoffs are a marathon, not a sprint. Having said that, it will be a short stint in the tournament if Brooklyn doesn’t change these two items from Game 1.

1. Decide how they want to defend the 76ers

During the first game, the Nets decided to send a bunch of double-teams at Philly center Joel Embiid, understanding they didn’t have a good matchup for him defensively (not many teams do). The thinking with that strategy is make everyone except Embiid beat them, instead of letting the center go off for 40 points and 20 rebounds every night.

What they probably weren’t banking on was Embiid being a willing passer, and they definitely weren’t thinking the 76ers would have the balance in scoring they had. It’s not like they shut down Embiid as it was, with him scoring 26 points, but if four other Philly players are going to score in double figures (including James Harden’s 23-point output), it’s safe to say the task at hand will be almost impossible to complete.

Brooklyn will have to continue to pick their poison throughout the series, but the main thing is to keep the pressure on Embiid. Another part of the adjustments are to keep mixing up the looks. If the 76ers continue to hit open shots around Embiid, they can stay at home on the shooters more, and come with late doubles on the big man. Either way, they have to have some sort of a swarm on Embiid.

2. Bring more balance on offense

Mikal Bridges, who came from the Suns in the trade for Durant, had 30 points in the series opener. The problem is he didn’t get much help to carry the load. Outside of Cam Johnson’s 18 points, the others didn’t do much to help. Spencer Dinwiddie, who was part of the Irving trade with the Mavericks, has to score more than 14 points.

Another thing the Nets have to do is quicken the pace. The score says there was a lot of pace, but with Embiid, Philly can play the game on their terms because they have someone they can legitimately run their whole offense through in the half court sets. Brooklyn has to push the ball every chance they get, even if it comes after made baskets. The less they have to contend with Embiid as a shot blocker, the better.

Notice everything centers around Embiid on both ends of the court for Brooklyn. If they want a remote chance of winning this series, they have to neutralize the favorite for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. If not, it won’t be long before they are one of the first teams to exit from the playoffs.

Completing these two items are obviously easier said than done, and it could turn out to make little difference, even if they are able to make these adjustments. This is merely saying if Brooklyn wants to give themselves the best opportunity to win, these items have to happen. It’s a monumental task for the Nets and head coach Jacque Vaughn, but at least it’s early enough to give it a good try.

The post 2 key adjustments Nets must make after Game 1 blowout loss to Sixers appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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