A Brooklyn State of Mind

Basketball Jan 21, 2021

A week ago, the Brooklyn Nets rocked the NBA with a four-team blockbuster trade that brought malcontented superstar James Harden to the boroughs.

Finally, last night, after much anticipation as to how ball distribution might work on such a potent offense, the so-called "Big Three" – consisting of Harden, along with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving – took the court together for the first time.

The trio met all the lofty expectations about firepower.  It was the first warning shot that the balance of power in the hostly-contested NBA clearly rests right now on two axis on both coasts – Los Angeles (led by the Lakers and Clippers) and Brooklyn (now the odds-on favourite to win the Eastern Conference).

Here's more from last night's stat sheet:

  • Kevin Durant put up 38 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.  
  • Kyrie Irving had 37 points.  
  • James Harden "only" put up 21, but also posted a triple-double (21-10-12).  Wow, quite a debut.  
  • The trio nailed their first 10 shots in the game.
  • The Nets overcame a 13-point deficit to Cleveland in the middle of the 4th quarter.  However, let's face it – why were they losing by 13 points to Clevleand?
  • Indeed, there were also moments of total disaray, especially on defense.  The Nets gave up a whopping 147 points to the Cavaliers in a double-overtime loss.

Colin Ward-Henninger at CBS Sports summed up the first game with the Big Three, as follows:

"In their debut we saw both the blessing and the curse of having Harden, Irving and Durant together. It's going to take a while for them to figure out how to play together and how to distribute the opportunities. At times, it's going to be very ugly. Defensively, we can already see that it's going to be a struggle -- they've allowed 117.4 points per 100 possessions in three games with Harden."

It looks like Brooklyn is a three-headed monster.  It could also end up being the snake that eats away at its own tail.

Having three superstars on the court at the same time seems like a huge advantage.  It's almost an All-Star team.  But, given the Nets lost the game last night the tougher challenge might be managing the balancing act.  That could prove difficult since there's only one basketball, but three egos involved.  It might also help if Brooklyn played a little bit of defense.

Brooklyn could end up winning it all, this season.  But there's also a recipee brewing for disappointment and disaster if some shortcomings aren't fixed soon.