Brooklyn Nets

After loss to Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets offer sober accounting of areas to improve

 

bjackson@MiamiHerald.com

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce went silent on Wednesday, much like their performance in Game 1 against the Heat a night earlier.

Whereas Garnett and Pierce declined to speak to reporters a day after Garnett’s first scoreless playoff game of his life and a generally non-impactful eight-point game by Pierce, several other Nets had plenty to say in the wake of their 107-86 setback:

• Swingman Joe Johnson wondered whether the Nets’ 4-0 season series edge against the Heat gave them a false sense of security.

“We knew we were playing the champs and it wasn’t going to be easy,” he said. “I’m not sure everybody understood that. They definitely have a switch. We have to understand the value of each and every position, and I’m not sure we did that.”

• The Nets were mortified by Miami’s 52-28 edge in point paints.

“We gave up too many paint touches and too many layups,” coach Jason Kidd said. “We have to make them a perimeter team and make them shoot jump shots.”

Point guard Deron Williams cited myriad missteps on a night Miami shot 56.8 percent from the field: “Switching when we weren’t supposed to be switching. The help-side defense wasn’t there. Got beat on cuts. Little things that if you do them over and over, they definitely cost you.”

• Offensively, what irked the Nets was that they often settled for jumpers instead of attacking or making the extra pass to generate an easier shot.

“We’ve got to get back to moving the ball and getting the best shot available,” Johnson said. “We just can’t play one-on-one against this team.”

Johnson scored 17 on 7 for 11 shooting, but said Shane Battier was “a pest” defending him, not only by trying to deny him the ball, “but [trying] to make it as tough as possible when I do catch it.”

Battier returned the compliment on Wednesday, calling Johnson “as efficient a scorer as anybody in this league.”

Kidd said the Heat is fronting Johnson and “they’re going to double [him] on catches. For us, it’s making plays and not relying on Joe to bail us out.”

Williams said one solution is “we’ve got to get Joe the ball a little more in the post.”

Williams’ bottom line? “We can’t sit around and just shoot jump shots against this team. We have to get to the free throw line. I’m going to try to push the ball in transition and try to initiate the offense quickly. When you let them get their defense set, it’s tough to score on them.”

• The Nets want to regain their dominance on the boards against the Heat — they outrebounded Miami by 43 in the season series but were outrebounded 37-32 on Monday.

• Williams said he needs to have a clear advantage over Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole. Williams had 17 points (including long threes just before the second- and third-quarter buzzers) in 29 minutes, but also had as many turnovers (three) as assists. Chalmers and Cole also combined for three turnovers and three assists, as well as 18 points, in a combined 50 minutes.

• Shaun Livingston said Ray Allen (19 points in Game 1) “was the X factor for them. We have to do a better job making the game harder for him.”

THIS AND THAT

Pierce now has played more games against the Heat (69) than any other player, surpassing Allan Houston.

• Garnett’s scoreless game in 15 minutes wasn’t shocking, considering he has mustered five points or fewer in four of the Nets’ eight games this postseason.

• Chris Bosh has said Johnson will be the answer to a trivia question one day, as the player who emerged with the richest contract from the LeBron James-led, star-studded 2010 free-agent class. “I like to fly under the radar,” Johnson said Wednesday.

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