This was supposed to be the game where Milwaukee stole home court back and evened things up by exploiting their mismatches. This was supposed to be the game where Giannis Antetokounmpo took over after Mike Budenholzer spent two days game-planning for a different team without Harden.
Perhaps the Nets’ chemistry without Harden was actually strengthened by all his missed time during the regular season. Perhaps Mike Budenholzer is actually bad.
Whatever the root cause, the Nets exploded to a 39-point victory that threatened a 50-point margin, by far their biggest blowout in the postseason history of the franchise.
So, is that it? We’ve got our eternal new franchise record? Or is there a chance Brooklyn might surpass that mark at some point in June or July?
After all, the team’s currently playoff shooting splits are absolutely nuts.
Brooklyn Nets: Largest margin of victory in playoff game
Yeah, that’s…everyone. Everyone who touches the floor for the Brooklyn Nets is a superstar. Every Net who checks in is prime Ray Allen.
So for now, the Nets’ largest margin of victory in a playoff game is 39 points — though, again, Brooklyn was quite close to hanging a 50-burger from Culver’s on Milwaukee’s Best.
That ridiculous blowout passed the Nets’ previous high-water mark of…24, set in Game 1 of their 2004 series against the New York Knicks. That 107-83 win was an excellent tone setter at the time, though that little inner-city rivalry seems long forgotten now. The Knickerbockers are yesterday’s news; we’re on to 39-point dismantlings.
Want to hear a joke? In that 2004 contest, the Nets went…5-17 from 3-point range. For an entire game! They shot 17 treys! On Monday night, Brooklyn sank 21-42 from deep. Glad we blew that old franchise record out of the water, considering it was from an entirely different and duller era.
As for the third-place mark on the blowout list? Well, you might remember it from a few weeks ago. On May 25 in Game 2 against the Boston Celtics, the Nets secured a 130-108 win. Of course, 22 doesn’t roll off the tongue like 39. We entered rarefied air this round.
Brooklyn Nets: Best shooting percentage in playoff history
Believe it or not, the Nets’ shooting percentage of 52.1% as a team in Game 2 has been surpassed in another blowout — and it wasn’t terribly long ago.
That all-time franchise postseason mark was set in Game 4 against the Boston Celtics, a 141-126 win that turned the series into a clear “Gentleman’s Sweep” opportunity instead of a 2-2 nailbiter. Monday’s blowout was only Brooklyn’s third-best shooting percentage of this still-young postseason. Perhaps the most surprising game on the list of “best of” performances is Game 1 of the 2013 first round against the Chicago Bulls, in which the Nets hit 55.8% of their shots, led by Deron Williams’ 22 points and 7 assists.
Unfortunately, that blowout wasn’t enough to convince the Nets’ front office of the team’s future, and they still went out and traded for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett a few weeks later anyway.
Game 3 will be the Nets’ next opportunity to prove that they can take their high-scoring show on the road — and hopefully Milwaukee isn’t too close to Detroit for Blake Griffin’s liking.
As evidenced by Game 2, this Brooklyn team won’t just be aiming to defeat the Bucks. They’ll be looking to send their rivals into another dimension.
Laugh all you want, but Giannis and Co. don’t want to get embarrassed on their own home court the same way they were flattened in a record-setting Game 2 defeat. It could get intense. It could get tight. In times of terror, though, Brooklyn will always be able to have a franchise-record-setting margin of victory in the back of their minds. That just happened, and it can happen again.