The Brooklyn Nets Are the Team to Beat in the NBA Playoffs. Can They Be Stopped?
With the first round of the NBA Playoffs now underway, it appears that the Brooklyn Nets are one of the teams to beat in 2021.
The Nets established themselves early, beating the Boston Celtics in their series opener 104-93 behind a 32 point double-double from Kevin Durant, 29 points from Kyrie Irving, and 21 from James Harden. The Nets boast perhaps the most frightening attack in the league, and they will most definitely be up there at the pointy end of the playoffs. Can they be stopped?
The NBA betting lines today have the Nets at +227 favorites with the Lakers (+392) and the Clippers (+467) the next closest challengers. It does seem odd that the No.1 seed in the east in the 76ers is sixth in the betting at +783 to win the championship.
When looking at the other teams that are in the Playoffs, of course the Nets can be stopped but whether it happens or not is another thing entirely. Lebron James and his LA Lakers are still one of the favorites, despite their loss to Phoenix.
When a team has two incredible superstars in James and Anthony Davis, coupled with players like Kyle Kuzma, Dennis Schroder, and rebounding monster Andre Drummond, the Lakers are a serious threat to the Nets. However, they will have to get past a very plucky Suns team first.
Then there are the Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Already with a 2-0 series lead over last year's finalists in the Miami Heat, the Bucks have the system to disrupt the Nets, however a lot will fall on Giannis to propel his team forward along with Kris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. The pair could meet in the Eastern Conference finals and what a spectacle that would be.
Another team from the east could very well trouble Durant and the Nets. That is the 76ers. Let's not forget they are the No.1 seed in the east and with Ben Simmons and Jole Embiid looking like they are starting to finally click under Doc Rivers. The 76ers won their opening-series matchup against the Wizards with Tobias Harris (37 points), Embiid (30 points), and Ben Simmons (15 rebounds, 15 assists) all having their way. Certainly, Philadelphia seems the best equipped in the east to take it up to the Nets.
Then there is the LA Clippers. Much like the Lakers, the only way that they can match up against the Nets is in the NBA Finals. To do that they will have to get past the Mavericks (1-0 down) first and most likely either Phoenix or the Lakers to get a crack at Durant and his side. Somewhat of a dark horse but with Kawhi and Paul George, the Clippers might not have the spread of talent like the Nets, but they can cause them some serious problems should they meet.
Those are the only real challengers to the Brooklyn Nets in this year's NBA Finals as the Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, New York Knicks and the Atlanta Hawks do not have the necessary firepower nor star power to combat the Nets' big three in Durant, Harden, and Irving.
The Nets still have to get past a dogged Boston Celtics team and then most likely have to deal with either the Bucks or the 76ers to get to the NBA Finals but it does seem like Brooklyn is in the box seat given the amount of talent currently on their roster.