Tonight the Brooklyn Nets and the Miami Heat take their series north to the Barclay Center in Brooklyn for game three of their second round playoff series. The Heat took both both games on South Beach, setting up a must-win game for the Nets.
Yes, if the Nets lose tonight the series is not over in a literal sense, but from a practical standpoint if they trail the Heat 2-0 they can start making their vacation plans. I see no way that they could overcome a 3-0 deficit to the two time defending NBA champions. The Nets did defeat the heat in all four of their regular season meetings this year, but beating them four straight games is a much taller task than beating them all four times you meet them throughout the regular season.
The Barclays Center should be buzzing tonight for game 3 for just that reason, Nets fans have to know that this game is do or die, so the Heat should be entering a very hostile environment in Brooklyn, which should provide a boost for the Nets, but that advantage will be short lived if they fail to produce on the floor.
I’m looking at you, Deron Williams.
D-Will is the Nets highest paid player, and he is their biggest X-factor. When he is on his game he is one of the best point guards in the entire league. When he is at his best the Nets are a very balanced team and one that is extremely difficult to beat, even for a team like the Heat. The issue is that he just isn’t a consistent performer. Anyone who watched the Nets’ previous series against the Raptors saw that when D-Will came to play the Nets handled business, when he didn’t they struggled mightily.
The Nets are 3-0 when Williams drops 20 or more points this postseason, they are 1-5 when he fails to reach that mark.
Williams can not afford to put up another 0 point clunker in front of the home fans. They need to see something like the 23 point, 8 assist performance he put up in game 3 of the Raptors series. If the Nets are going to climb out of a 2-0 series hole to the Heat, they will need Williams to have a string of games similar to that one.
Right now, the Nets have to take it one game at a time. Williams will have to be at his very best tonight, and I’m sure the fans will let him know if he is not.