You could understand why Brooklyn wasn’t worth backing in my 2014 NBA playoff expert picks the first time they clashed with the Miami Heat in Game 1. The Nets had just engaged in an all-out war with Toronto for seven games, and had to make their way from Canada to Florida over the span of just two days. It was no wonder they got spanked by 21-points on Tuesday. The odds were totally against them.
Game 2 was supposed to be a bit better and it certainly started out that way. Eventually, however, it turned in to a complete and utter disaster for the visiting Nets.
Brooklyn looked like they were going to put up a fight after taking a 21-to-15 lead in the first quarter, but then the Heat slammed on the accelerator and left the Nets in their dust. There were many 2014 NBA playoff expert picks floating out there that believed Brooklyn was capable of a bounce back effort. Instead, Miami ended up covering as hefty home favorites thanks to a +12.0 point lead as they buried Brooklyn in the final quarter 25-to-15.
Why would anyone writing about this series leverage their 2014 NBA playoff expert picks against Miami? I have no idea. By all accounts, Prokhorov and the Nets handed out the highest payroll in history to beat LeBron James. They might have built a tank of a team, but it’s being piloted by the wrong guy. Deron Williams scored zero points in Game 2 and has routinely vanished in these playoffs. He’s ultimately why you can’t trust Brooklyn.
I’ve been waiting for that moment when Paul Pierce steps up and takes LeBron, but it’s obvious that The Truth has lost the magic that made him a champion. I’m not deriding him entirely because he’s still an absolutely effective talent and veteran. I’m just saying that it’s insane to believe that a 36-year old Pierce is going to dial it back and bail out the Nets by taking on LeBron at his new, physical peak (he makes a new one every year apparently).
Playing in Brooklyn hasn’t even made the Nets favorites on their own court. How could it? They’ve lost by a truck load of points in the last two games. This was the series that Miami wanted all year long and now that they have it…I don’t think they want it anymore. While this matchup has a ton of big names, it’s not worthy of any further dissection in 2014 NBA playoff expert picks. As has been the case with the Miami Heat in the playoffs, this game is academic.