Brooklyn Nets March to NBA Title Begins


Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets begin the 2014 playoffs north of the border in Toronto to take on the Raptors in the first round.  The Nets got the matchup they wanted, avoiding playing the Chicago Bulls for a second straight season in the playoffs.  There’s just one stat to look at when breaking down the Nets matchup with the Raptors.  That one statistic will give you the answer to who will win this series.

Raptors starters have a total of 24 games played in the playoffs, and they only come from two players.  Kyle Lowry has played in 13 playoff games and Amir Johnson has played in 11.  Both players were not pivotal parts of those playoff teams, and Johnson averaged just five minutes a game in the 11 games.

Nets starters have an astounding total of 399 games played in the playoffs, including all five starters.  They all were significant parts of their prospective playoff teams.  Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett won a NBA title together in Boston.  Deron Williams took the Jazz to the Western Conference Finals in 2007.  Joe Johnson carried the Hawks to three consecutive Eastern Conference Semifinals from 2008-2011.  Shaun Livingston was part of the last Clippers team that was good before their recent run, before his gruesome knee injuries that sidelined him until this season.

Playoff experience goes miles and miles, and the Nets have 375 games more games played in the playoffs than the Raptors.  That will be the difference in this series and the reason why Jason Kidd takes his team to the next round.  These games will all be close, but the leadership in Brooklyn carries them to the Eastern Conference Semifinals in six games.

So why is automatic that either the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers win the East?  Does 399 games of playoff experience in the starting lineup alone mean nothing?  The Nets are battle tested.  They know what it takes to win under pressure in April, May, and June.  This team was built for a short window to win a NBA title and that time is now.

A win over the Raptors would set up the much-anticipated battle with LeBron James and the Heat.  The same Heat team that was swept in the four-game regular season series against the Nets.  It’s the same Heat team that is 11-13 in their last 24 games.  It’s the same Heat team that played a banged up Dwyane Wade just 54 games this season.  With no disrespect to the defending two-time NBA Champions, they can be beat.

The Indiana Pacers have fallen apart in the last couple of months.  They don’t have anywhere near the playoff resume that the Heat do.  The locker room is a nightmare and something has gone wrong in Indiana.  Yet for some reason, the Nets have no shot.  There’s no chance in the world that the “over-the-hill” Nets could make it to the NBA Finals.

Veterans.  Leadership.  Championships.  Experience.  The Truth.

The Nets have every one of those and those are the attributes that build a champion.  So before you get your Heat-Pacers Eastern Conference Finals tickets, don’t forget about the old vets in Brooklyn.  Don’t forget about the rookie head coach that was one of the great point guards and distributors to ever live.  Don’t forget about Pierce aka “The Truth” and his ability to hit clutch shots in the playoffs.  Don’t forget about “Anything is Possible” words uttered by Garnett. There’s no reason to overlook one of the hottest teams in the NBA in 2014.  The 2014 Brooklyn Nets have the best chance to dethrone the Heat and send the Pacers packing.