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Following 0-2 Start, Brooklyn Nets Need Stars to Step up Against LeBron James, Miami Heat

May 9th, 2014 at 12:22 PM
By Martin Mihaly

'Deron Williams' photo (c) 2014, Keith Allison - license:

With a payroll totaling over $180 million dollars, the Brooklyn Nets have the highest paid roster in the league.  They also have one of the oldest rosters.  A team that made major moves this past offseason in hopes of competing for a championship is now in a two game hole against the reigning champions.  It's time for the stars to take control.

On Thursday night, LeBron James and the Miami Heat beat the Nets 94-82.  James led all scorers with 22 points.  He also contributed four rebounds and three assists.  It wasn't the usual monster performance that we are used to seeing from James, but he was still the best player on the court.  Dwyane Wade chipped in 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.  Chris Bosh finished with 18 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.  

The Nets four highest paid players, not including the injured Brook Lopez, are Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.  Johnson has been the Nets most consistent player throughout these playoffs.  On Thursday night, he wasn't great but still finished with 13 points, four rebounds and three assists.  Pierce, Garnett and Williams have each had their up's and down's during these playoffs.  Garnett and Pierce bounced back with better performances following their struggles in Game One.  Pierce scored 13 points and grabbed four boards.  Garnett still struggled mightily scoring as he only had four points but he did pull down 12 rebounds.  Williams, on the other hand, had a terrible Game Two.  Williams went scoreless for the first time in his playoff career as he missed all nine of his field goal attempts.  

Only a couple times this postseason have all four players played well at the same time.  However, if the Nets hope to win Game Three, they will need solid performances from each of their stars.  

In Game Two, Mirza Teletovic, Shaun Livingston and Marcus Thornton each came through with solid performances for the Nets.  Teletovic scored 20 points as he hit six of his nine three-point attempts.  Shaun Livingston scored 15 points and had five rebounds and three assists.  Thornton finished with 10 points off the bench.  It would be nice for Jason Kidd if he could find some way to get Andray Blatche active and involved in the offense.  Blatche played just five minutes in Game Two and contributed nothing except for one turnover.  

It is unlikely that Brooklyn will have any player play a better game than James.  What the Nets can have is a better collective group effort than that of the Heat.  It starts with their four highest paid players.  

Johnson is the best scorer on the team.  Garnett brings the intensity to the defensive end.  Pierce brings the heart that this team desperately needs.  Williams needs to provide the pressure.  

Facing a team led by James, Wade, Bosh and Allen, it's simple for the Nets; everyone needs to play well.  Most importantly, the stars need to play very well.  Williams needs to play closer to what his $98 million dollar contract says he is.  

If this doesn't happen for Brooklyn, they will fall to the death sentence of an 0-3 hole versus the two-time defending champs.

Tags: Basketball, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Nets, Chris Bosh, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Lebron James, Miami Heat, NBA, Paul Pierce

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