The top 16 teams in the NBA will compete in the play-offs, which run from 22 May up until 22 JulyAmong its many nicknames, New York is referred to as The City That Never Sleeps. Yet for its basketball-loving homeowners, its tough to believe what theyre experiencing isnt a dream.
” Its like a motion picture, you need to pinch yourself to see if its real,” Keith McPherson, host of the Talkin Nets podcast, told BBC Sport.
” You could believe it if it was one of the big marquee groups, like the Lakers or Celtics, but its my group – the little engine that could.
” Here in Brooklyn we anticipate to win it, but if for some factor we dont, its not the end of the world. I look at this as the beginning of a little dynasty of us being a competitive group for the next three to four years.”
Its not only New Yorkers or Nets fans who are thrilled about what the rest of the season has in shop, with basketball fans around the globe excited to see what the franchise and their Big Three will achieve.
Going into the 2021 NBA play-offs, the Brooklyn Nets are clear favourites – a situation even the most loyal Nets fans are discovering tough to think.
1. Utah Jazz
1. Philadelphia 76ers
2. Phoenix Suns
2. Brooklyn Nets
3. Denver Nuggets
3. Milwaukee Bucks
4. Los Angeles Clippers
4. New York Knicks
5. Dallas Mavericks
5. Atlanta Hawks
6. Portland Trailblazers
6. Miami Heat
7. Los Angeles Lakers
7. Boston Celtics
8. Memphis Grizzlies
8. Washington Wizards
A 2nd homecoming
The Barclays Centre has actually been house of the Nets considering that 2012This is the 4th version of the franchise – which began in New Jersey prior to moving to New York, then back to New Jersey – we understand today as the Brooklyn Nets.
Having actually bounced in between cities, the team have been the almost guys before – losing the 2002 and 2003 NBA Finals.
” Even if the Knicks are the more established group here in New York – their fanbase returns generations – what the Nets have actually been able to do is re-excite the basketball audience in the city,” stated radio presenter Chris Carrino.
” We cant contend with the Knicks traditions, but what we are doing today is so exciting.”
The Big Three
The Nets Big Three of Irving (left), Harden (centre) and Durant (right) have actually helped put them as title favouritesThere are 3 reasons why basketball experts and wagering business are tipping Brooklyn to go all the method: Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Kevin Durant.
The trio are investing their very first year together – however bring adequate specific honors and skill that entry into the NBA Hall of Fame is a rule.
Durant is a two-time NBA champion and Finals Most Valuable Player with the Golden State Warriors.
Irving won the NBA title with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, is a seven-time All-Star, and was part of Team USAs success at the 2016 Olympics.
Harden – who was obtained in a smash hit trade from the Houston Rockets in January – was the leagues MVP in 2018 and is also a three-time scoring champ.
Injuries to all 3 mean they have actually just played eight of the 72 regular-season games together, but such is their private skill many believe theyre unbeatable if fit.
” If the Nets were a restaurant meal, its got to be a high quality surf and turf,” said Carrino.
” Harden is the fillet mignon. Durant is the lobster. Irving is the seasoning, and you know if you do not season it right youre not going to have a tasty dish. The other men are the vegetables – they dont get the love they are worthy of, but you require them.”
NBA teams normally include one star name (two at a push) and a supporting cast, and rival fans – regardless of the existence of the income cap – have actually accused the Nets of attempting to buy the championship.
” Weve seen extremely teams fail on their faces,” stated McPherson. “And take a look at in 2015 – Miami Heat made the Finals, no-one anticipated that. They didnt have the finest gamers but revealed they were the finest team.
” Kevin Durant stated it best: You still have to put in the work.”.
As their primary guys, the Nets have obtained All-Stars Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, and their roster also includes the shooting skills of Joe Harris, and the protective durability of Jeff Green.
The group is also coached by two-time MVP Steve Nash, who has 18 years playing experience in the NBA.
Is the Joker MVP-elect?
Embiid (left), Curry (centre) and Jokic (ideal) were shortlisted as the MVP finalistsWinning an NBA championship is a feat only accomplished by a really small portion of gamers, and being named the regular seasons Most Valuable Player is an honour booked for an even more special club.
The Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo is the two-time reigning MVP, however will not be retaining his title.
On Friday, the NBA revealed a three-man shortlist: Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers centre Joel Embiid, and Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry.
The excellent LeBron James – currently a four-time winner of the award – was on course to be a contender until an ankle injury forced him to miss out on more than 25 games.
Injury also dented Hardens possibilities, and ESPN analyst Dave Pasch said this years decision was a simple one.
” Jokic played every video game, and he had a terrific year, so I do not look at it as by default however he had the best year out of all the healthy gamers,” he stated.
” I believed long and hard about Embiid and about Steph Curry. If the Warriors had won 5 more video games, I think more individuals would have elected Steph.”.
The best of the rest.
The Nets might be favourites to raise the title, however its anything however a formality with a lack of fans in arenas potentially misshaping outcomes.
The Utah Jazz, for instance, completed the season with the very best record in the NBA – and in 2015s champs the Los Angeles Lakers needed to take part in a play-off video game to protect their place.
The target is the championship game, in which the winner of the Eastern Conference and winner of the Western Conference go head-to-head in a best-of-seven-games series.
” Theres so numerous groups that I think might arrive in the East – Brooklyn, Philadelphia 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks,” stated Pasch.
” In the West I believe there are a handful of groups too. You have to point out the Lakers – if LeBron James is healthy theyve got an excellent shot.
” The Los Angeles Clippers too, and I think the Phoenix Suns are genuine. Chris Paul has been excellent and has the experience to lead his young group.”.
The NBA play-offs start on Saturday, 22 May with the Bucks taking on the Heat in the East (19:00 BST), while the Clippers deal with the Dallas Mavericks in the West (21:30 BST).
” Harden is the fillet mignon. Irving is the seasoning, and you know if you dont season it right youre not going to have a yummy meal.” Weve seen very teams fall flat on their faces,” said McPherson. “And look at last year – Miami Heat made the Finals, no-one anticipated that. They didnt have the finest gamers however showed they were the finest group.