Brooklyn Nets: Don’t blame Bruce Brown for Game 3 loss

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 05: Bruce Brown #1 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 05: Bruce Brown #1 of the Brooklyn Nets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

The Brooklyn Nets looked totally dead in the water in the first quarter of their Game 3 matchup against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, as they trailed by 21 points in the early going. On a team that has Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, it was Bruce Brown who helped rally the troops.

With James Harden on the mend due to his hamstring problem, Brown recorded a double-double, scoring 17 points while pulling down 11 rebounds as the Nets fought their way back into the game.

You know the rest. Brooklyn eventually lost the game 86-83, and Brown’s night was overshadowed by his fourth-quarter performance.

Brown went ice-cold from the field in that quarter, but his biggest miss came with the Nets down 1 and in need of a bucket.

Rather than letting Durant, Irving, or the struggling Joe Harris take the last shot, it was Brown who ended up missing a floater in the lane with a ton of time left on the clock.

Naturally, because NBA Twitter is the most reactionary thing in the universe, Brown was regarded as a bum for his late-game miss. Ripping him like that and blaming him for the loss is trying to erase all of the good he did over the course of that game.

Bruce Brown shouldn’t be blamed for the Brooklyn Nets’ loss.

Brown will be one of the most important players in this series with our without Harden. While he came into the league as a point guard, Brown has been deployed as an extremely small center, as Brooklyn values his passing and finishing on the interior. 8.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game on this team is nothing to sneeze at.

Brown is one of the few plus defenders on this team, as he can genuinely switch on to all five positions for a limited period of time. Brown shouldn’t have taken that shot at the end, but the blame lies elsewhere.

Brooklyn’s top three offensive threats in Durant, Irving, and Harris made just 33% of their shots, with Harris going a brutal 1-11 from the field. Yes, Brown taking 17 shots likely shouldn’t be in the gameplan, but he was one of the few Nets who came to play on that side of the ball in the early stages.

On defense, Giannis and Khris Middleton combined for 68 of Milwaukee’s 86 points. Brooklyn knew who was getting the ball, and they still couldn’t stop them, and that lies on a coaching staff that saw Durant make three consecutive huge shots and then decided not to let him shoot until the very last possession of the game.

We saw what the Nets looked like early in the season, when players like Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot were getting minutes over Brown. They couldn’t defend a parked car. That alone speaks to the value Brown brings to the table, and one ill-advised shot in a game the Nets had no business even entertaining a victory in doesn’t erase that.

If you want to single out one person or one group of people, look at the coaching staff, who for some breathtaking reason decided to even let the ball come out of Irving or Durant’s hands. The Nets would’ve gotten boat raced without Brown, and trying to say that he blew it for Twitter engagement is just lazy.

The Nets might be without Harden for Game 4, but even if he does return, Brown will eat up plenty of minutes, especially after he appeared to find some holes in Milwaukee’s stout defense. Rather than spending the entire day falsely accusing Brown of losing the game, Brooklyn fans would be better off hyping him up as the Nets look to take a commanding 3-1 lead in this series.