The Brooklyn Nets finished the regular season with the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. Of course, with the trio of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden, that should come as no surprise to any of us.
What is a surprise is that the Nets accomplished this despite the trio playing just seven games together during the regular season. Given that fact, it would have been reasonable to wonder how they’d fare in the postseason. After all, even star players need time to gel, right?
In the first round of NBA playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets faced off against the seventh-seeded Boston Celtics. And the Nets took the first two games of that series.
The Celtics did manage to take Game 3 behind 50 points from Jayson Tatum. However, the Nets beat the short-handed Celtics in five games. Additionally, the Nets Big 3 became the first trio in NBA history to score 95 points in consecutive playoff games.
Sure, the Brooklyn Nets dispatched of the Celtics in impressive fashion. However, are they the favorites to win it all?
A look at how the Brooklyn Nets perform at both ends of the floor
Well, let’s take a look at the tale of the tape. The Nets finished the regular season as the second-highest scoring team in the league (118.6 points per game). Brooklyn was also the top offensive team in the NBA (118.3 points per 100 possessions).
On the defensive side of the ball, it’s a different story for the Nets. They finished 21st in points allowed (114.1 points per contest). Additionally, the Nets ranked 23rd in defensive efficiency (113.8 points per 100 possessions).
The Brooklyn Nets will take on the Milwaukee Bucks in the conference semifinals. The Bucks have had the top record in the East Conference the last two seasons.
Not only that, but the Bucks are allowing just 98 points per contest. This is second-best mark in the NBA playoffs. Simply put, the Nets won’t be facing a short-handed ball club in the next round.
Despite their glaring deficiencies on defense, oddsmakers like the Nets’ chances of winning the NBA title. In fact, according to sportsbettingdime, the Nets have shortened the average championship odds by +175. The remaining teams in the top five include the Utah Jazz (+450), Milwaukee Bucks (+550), LA Clippers (+600), and the Philadelphia 76ers (+900).
Make no mistake, the Nets’ trio is difficult to contain. But here’s an interesting fact worth noting. The Jazz trailed the Los Angeles Lakers in the title odds conversation for most of the season. However, thanks to Anthony Davis nursing a groin injury, the championship title race has taken a turn in a different direction.
So while the Nets are now the prohibitive favorites, and rightfully so, every team is one key injury away from having their championship aspirations derailed.