The Nets’ postseason run is set to begin on Saturday, and the team will have their hands full against one of the top contenders in the league. Brooklyn’s young group has shown their ability to be aggressive and compete with the best teams on a nightly basis, but the playoffs will be a different challenge.
To beat a team in the postseason, each team will have to play their best to win the most out of seven games. And while that may sound easy, there’s a very slim margin of error at this point in the season.
Jacque Vaughn and company know that, which is why the team will look to have a gameplan ready to compete.
Nets’ keys to victory
Take care of the basketball
The 76ers rank in the top 10 in both defensive rating and steals per game this season. For the Nets to stand a chance in the series, the team will have to take care of the ball. But why?
On the other side of the ball, Philadelphia is ranked third in offensive rating. The more chances given to the Sixers to score will just add to what will already be an uphill climb for the Nets.
If Brooklyn is able to make smart decisions on offense and keep the 76ers defense on their toes, the Nets offense will have more of an opportunity to find success on offense.
Find a way to limit Joel Embiid
Brooklyn will have a tall task to slow down Joel Embiid, and while it’s nearly impossible to fully stop the MVP frontrunner, teams have proven you can slow him down.
Nic Claxton will be given the primary role of defending Embiid, but the more bodies thrown at him and mixed coverages, the more difficult it will be for the Kansas product to find his rhythm. Luckily for the Nets, they have multiple capable defenders in Claxton, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Royce O’Neale who can attempt to knock the center off his game.
While limiting Embiid will be a challenge on its own, Claxton and company know it all starts there.
Run the offense through Mikal Bridges
Since being traded to Brooklyn, Mikal Bridges has upped his game and formed into one of the league’s top young stars to watch. Bridges is averaging 26.1 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, and 2.7 assists with the Nets. If the Villanova alum can continue producing at the level he has been at recently, the 76ers will have trouble stopping him.
The versatile forwards ability to handle the ball and stretch the floor will give Vaughn and the Nets staff a lot of options on offense. The more options, the better.
If Bridges can take attention off of other playmakers like Spencer Dinwiddie, their offense could continue to rise to another level at the right time.