The Nets don’t believe they are too far off from being better than the Celtics in their first-round match up.
The Nets entered Monday facing an 0-3 series deficit no team in NBA playoff history has ever overcome. They lost Game 1 on a broken-play, buzzer-beating layup, blew a 17-point lead to lose Game 2 by seven, and lost their first playoff game at home by six points on Saturday.
“I don’t think we’ve been far off,” sharpshooter Seth Curry said Sunday. “I know everything in the playoffs is magnified, but we haven’t been too far off from winning a lot of these games and being in this series.”
Of the 143 teams that have faced an 0-3 playoff deficit, none have come back to win, and 89 of the other 143 teams that have taken a 3-0 lead swept their opponent in Game 4.
“I think you have to have perspective always in life,” head coach Steve Nash said. “It looks ominous, 0-3. We had Game 1 won if they took one more dribble. So you have to always remind yourselves that you can’t play three games in one. You play one, try to win the game. And try to find that belief and perspective that it is one game. We’ll play a good game and let the chips fall.”
While Curry and Nash sang one tune, the ambiance in the Nets’ practice facility hummed another.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are usually doing shooting drills at the end of Nets practice, but by the time the Nets allowed media in to watch the end, Durant was walking off the floor and Irving was nowhere to be found. Neither was Simmons, who was expected to also miss Game 4.
The energy at Nets practice was comparable to the energy at a regular-season game at Barclays Center. It was missing, almost morgue-like, and after three games, the Nets have been, too.
Curry, however, said the team still believes it can come back from this deficit.
“One game at a time. We haven’t been far off in these games,” he said. “I know it seems that way just from everybody on the outside, but when you really watch it and look at the numbers outside of just the counting stats, look at the numbers, we’re really close. We’re right there to being in this series. That’s the belief that I have. Everybody has to have that same belief and go out there and try to win one game.”
Asked if his teammates share his same belief, Curry said, “I think so.”
If they’re going to overcome the swarming Celtics defense and Boston’s buzzing continuity, it’ll come from attention to detail and, more importantly, taking care of the ball. That starts with Durant, who has compounded his shooting horrors with 17 careless turnovers through three playoff games.
“The turnovers come from a lack of chemistry, a lack of knowing where guys are gonna be at,” Curry said on Sunday. “Just being on the same page, and from watching film, our half-court offense hasn’t been too bad when we get a shot, it’s just the turnovers, and the same thing with our half-court defense. When our defense is set, it’s been pretty good throughout this series.”
Curry harped on the turnovers even more.
“It’s just the run-outs, the transition, turnovers,” he said. “Everybody’s gonna be good when they get a turnover in transition. They’re gonna run out and score at a higher rate, and that’s what (Boston has) been doing. If we can cut those turnovers down and set our defense, then we can have a greater chance to win these games.”
It’s going to take more than just taking care of the ball to make something of this series. It’s going to take heart and will, and more importantly, a legacy game from the Nets’ two superstars if they’re going to force a Game 5 in Boston.
Down 0-3, where do the Nets go from here?
“We go to Barclays tomorrow night to try and win a game and enjoy the heck out of it,” Nash said. “That’s way better than not having this opportunity. I think for our group trying to find that resolve and that belief. We’ve lost three games by maybe a little over four points as an average. So it’s all possible and we just have to find the resolve.”