Category Archives: Nets

Picking up the Pieces from the Brooklyn Nets’ Roller Coaster Season

The Brooklyn Nets’ season ended last night.

The 2014 Nets proved to be less than the sum of their overpaid pieces.

The 2014 Nets proved to be less than the sum of their overpaid pieces.

The Nets, playing in Miami in Game 5 of their second round series with the Heat, led LeBron & Co. for most of the game. In the fourth quarter, however, they self-destructed, choking away a late nine point lead. With the ball, a two point deficit, and five seconds left on the clock, the Nets didn’t even manage to get a shot up. No Paul Pierce playoff magic. No big shot from Joe Johnson. Just a sloppy, ugly conclusion to a sloppy, ugly season.

Brooklyn hardly put up a fight in the five game series with the defending champion Heat. For a team supposedly built to beat Miami, the results were uninspiring: two blowout losses, two late collapses, and just one measly, irrelevant victory. Still, the outcome was hardly shocking.

Following a busy offseason, expectations for the Nets this fall were lofty. After pegging  Jason Kidd as their new coach last June (I still haven’t made sense of that one), the Nets flipped their future (a trio of first round picks) for the Celtics’ past (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry). The blockbuster move improved the Nets on paper, ostensibly providing a team that won 49 games in 2012-13 with more offensive options, more experience, and more grit. The hype train started rolling immediately (our own Danny Cooper helped put the trade in historical perspective at the time) and rolled all the way onto the cover of Sports Illustrated’s NBA Preview (see above).

Then the season started and the good vibes ended. Jason Kidd looked lost on the sidelines. Paul Pierce’s shot was all over the place. Garnett’s offensive game, in decline for years, finally evaporated altogether. The Nets’ offense had no flow, as Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Johnson, and Pierce took turns dominating the ball before hoisting shots. Defensively, the Nets were a train wreck.

Then, on December 20th, the Nets lost Lopez, to that point their best player, for the rest of the season with a foot injury. Come Christmas, the $180 million Nets were 9-18. How’d they do on Christmas? They got bullied by Chicago in Brooklyn, losing 95-78.

Then, as if by magic, the Nets turned things around. In Lopez’s absence, Pierce moved to the 4 and started to play better. The Nets improved dramatically on the defensive end. Meanwhile, their second unit began to click. By the end of January, the Nets had improved to 20-24. With a win over Memphis on March 5th, they got back over .500. Eventually, they earned a playoff spot, finishing 44-38.

The Nets benefited from the historically putrid state of the Eastern Conference. In a conference filled with tanking teams, the Nets were aiming for a playoff push. By no means did they suddenly turn into a great team, but they looked pretty darn good compared to the sputtering cross-town Knicks.

And then they were good enough to subdue DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and the up-and-coming Raptors in the first round of the playoffs, winning in seven exciting (if ugly) games. The Raptors are on the rise, and DeRozan is fast becoming one of the league’s best players, but the high-priced Nets had enough fight to get by them.

The win over the Raptors will go down as the highlight of the season for the Nets, along with their 10-3 January mostly spent beating up on bad Eastern Conference foes. In the end, the Nets spent $36 million per playoff win. For all their star power, they were often at their most fun to watch when role players Mirza Teletovic and Marcus Thornton were pouring in threes.

Ultimately, the Nets were an average team this year. Garnett, who may now decide to retire, was a non-factor. Deron Williams proved himself to be a far cry from the star folks once thought he was; he has become shockingly limited in his ability to create and penetrate. Pierce still may have something left in the tank, but he rarely was a consistent scorer for the Nets.

Somehow, Joe Johnson was the guy for the Nets this year. That didn’t work for years in Atlanta, and it didn’t work in Brooklyn either.

Playing in the Barclays Center, which resembles a theater more than a gym, the Nets never ceased to pass the coolness test. Jason Kidd, dressed in business casual, calling the shots for a team filled with recognizable names never ceased to possess appeal.  The Nets threw care, their future, and, at times, common sense to the wind to provide us with the strangest, most unpredictable team in recent memory. There likely will never be another team quite like the 2014 Nets.

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Hot Nets Push Past Miami

The Nets suddenly look like the Brooklyn Nets they were supposed to be coming into this season. And they’re doing it without Deron Williams or Brook Lopez.

The Nets outlasted the Miami Heat last night in a physical, postseason-like game at the Barclays Center. LeBron James spent most of the game scowling and fouled out in the first of what turned out to be a pair of overtime sessions.

It was the second night of a Big Apple back-to-back for the Heat, who entered the night fresh off a loss to the Knicks and without Dwyane Wade (who is nursing a sore knee). They looked determined to win in Brooklyn and establish a winning tone for the rest of their East Coast road trip, but fell short.

Before fouling out, LeBron played exquisitely, tallying 36 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists, but committed several key offensive fouls late in the game. His frustration seemed to be boiling over when he displayed unusual anger in reacting to a hard foul committed on him by Mirza Teletovic. Chris Bosh had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, but his presence in the game was very unimpressive. Norris Cole (who might have the jazziest nickname on the team in Cole Train), on the other hand, scored 18 points and contributed 7 assists, and looked calm and composed in taking the shot which tied the game at 93 at the end of the first overtime.

For the Nets, it was perhaps the best show of cohesiveness they’ve managed this year, and they spent much of the night whipping the ball around, getting good looks at the hoop, and playing solid defense.

Truth and the Nets flew by Birdman and the Heat on Friday night

The Truth and the Nets flew by Birdman and the Heat on Friday night

Recently, the Nets defense (an absolute train wreck for the first two months of the season) has been substantially better. Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko, and especially Shaun Livingston were fantastic on the defensive end during the battle with the Heat.

Livingston was brilliant and finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. He logged 51 minutes and still, astoundingly, looked spry at the game’s end. He blocked four shots, and came up with big plays and saves repeatedly down the stretch. Earlier in the game, Joe Johnson helped keep the Nets in the contest as the Heat came out of the gate on fire from the field. Johnson scored 22 of the Nets’ 33 first quarter points, and finished the night with a total of 32.

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce seem to be finding themselves. Pierce, finally healthy and playing well, dropped 23 on Miami, and knocked in several clutch shots. Garnett’s offensive game has mostly left him at this point in his career, but he was an efficient 5 of 8 from the field.

The Nets beat the Heat earlier this year–in the home opener against Miami on November 1st. After that win, the Nets lost 9 of their next 11 games. That doesn’t seem likely to recur here; Brooklyn is playing well, and with five straight wins over mostly quality opponents, there is plenty of reason for those “Brooooklyn” chants to be shaking the Barclays Center. LeBron James and the Heat certainly heard them last night.

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NBA: Some Good Vibrations Finally Coming From New York

KnicksNetsFor the second straight day, the eyes of the NBA world will be zeroed in on New York City tonight. Last night, at Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks took down the Miami Heat, dominating the second half and getting a big time performance from Carmelo Anthony. Tonight, the 27-9 Heat will hop on over to Brooklyn to play the Nets in another prime time battle.

The first two months of the season represented absolute disasters for both of the Big Apple’s pro hoops teams, as each team struggled amid injuries, off-court drama, and cacophonous cries for coaching turnover while losses piled on losses. There were moments when it almost seemed like each team was trying to one-up the other in the terribleness department, and the Nets certainly outshone the Knicks in that area when the two teams met at the Barclays Center on December fifth. On that night, the Knicks plowed through the Nets to the tune of a 113-83 “road” victory. Three nights later, the Knicks managed a 41 point home loss to the Celtics.

The Nets entered the 2014 portion of the season with a 10-21 record while the Knicks was even worse at 9-21. Since New Year’s Day however, things have swung in a different direction for both teams. The Nets have looked sharp in four consecutive wins, the most recent coming in the form of an impressive, narrow victory over the surging Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night. Playing without star center Brook Lopez, who is out for the year with a broken foot, the Nets have employed a more small ball look lately that puts Paul Pierce at power forward and Kevin Garnett at center. The approach has been working and the Nets have also been the beneficiaries of great play from Joe Johnson, who knocked in a game winner against the Thunder on January 2nd. Johnson, or “Joe Jesus”, as they’re calling him in Barclays these days, has dropped a total of 50 points in the Nets’ last two games.

Thanks to the terrible state of the Eastern Conference, the Nets’ early season struggles didn’t bury them in the standings–if the season ended today, the Nets would make the playoffs thanks to their recent surge.

The Knicks never slipped out of playoff range either, and they’re now only a single game out of the eight seed and four and a half games out of first in the Atlantic Division. The Knickerbockers have won four out of the five games they’ve played since the turn of the year and hold wins against both the San Antonio Spurs and, of course, the Heat over that stretch. While the Nets’ early season tumble seemed based on in-team clashing and injuries, the Knicks’ main problem early on was that they simply weren’t scoring. Carmelo Anthony was pouring in bucket after bucket, but second scoring option J.R. Smith couldn’t hit shots (he’s currently benched), and other scoring options such as Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert were mired in serious shooting slumps. The Knicks still haven’t turned their offense up to a super-high level, but Shumpert is playing better, Melo has been incredibly efficient lately, and Amar’e Stoudemire has started to produce more.

In spite of the recent spurts of success, the Knicks and Nets still sport terrible records. Combined, they are 27-43. Nevertheless, the past couple of weeks should provide some hope to the tri-state area basketball fan.

The Knicks sent a message to the defending champs last night in Midtown. Tonight, the Nets will try to send a message of their own. Suddenly, the question has turned from which NYC team is playing worse to which is playing better.

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Previewing the NBA’s Christmas Games

If Thanksgiving is meant for watching football, Christmas is a day for viewing the NBA. Sure, presents will be exchanged, meals will be consumed, and folks will linger around aromatic trees with old friends, but in the back drop of the all Christmas festivities the NBA will once again provide a slate of fantastic games in what has become one of the Association’s best traditions. Not to go all Ghost of Christmas Past on you, but there have been some classic Christmas games the past few years, including the Bulls’ one point win over the Lakers in 2011, the defensive slug-fest between the Magic and Celtics in 2009, and the thriller between the Spurs and Suns in ’08. The matchups are set for another memorable day of Christmas hoops tomorrow. Let’s take a look at the five games.

Chicago Bulls (10-16) @ Brooklyn Nets (9-18) 12:00

To kick things off the Chi-Town Tasting Platters (I plan on one day owning the Bulls and changing their name to that. Hey, it could happen…) will take on the Nets. This game’s lost some of the luster it carried when the schedules came out as the Bulls have been flat-out awful since Derrick Rose got injured (killing both the Bulls’ title chances and the chances of my fantasy basketball team) and the Nets have been bad from the very outset of the season. The Nets’ best player, the unfairly efficient Brook Lopez, is also out for the season. All of Brooklyn’s (many) other stars, sans Joe Johnson, have had various problems–Deron Williams is injured currently and has struggled this year, Paul Pierce has been injured and slumping and got ejected against the Pacers on Monday, and Kevin Garnett left what remained of his offensive game in Boston. All the while, coach Jason Kidd looks like, well, a guy who was playing in the NBA last spring. The Nets have issues and the Bulls simply aren’t very good, but who knows, maybe this game will be a turning point for Brooklyn (it’s more likely than me owning the Bulls someday).

Oklahoma City Thunder (22-5) @ New York Knicks (9-18) 2:30

Who's ready for a little Melo-KD action?

Who’s ready for a little Melo-KD action?

The second game of the day will also come from the Big Apple where the awesome Thunder will play the not-so awesome Knicks. OKC has been simply fantastic this season; Russ Westbrook and Kevin Durant are putting together tremendous seasons, Serge Ibaka is almost averaging a double-double, and guard Reggie Jackson is looking like an emerging star. Throw in improvement from their other youthful guard, Jeremy Lamb, and coach Scott Brook’s steady leadership and you have arguably the NBA’s best team. The Knicks, in the other corner, represent arguably New York’s best team. And the fact that it is an argument explains just how  bad they’ve been. The good news for Carmelo and friends is that the Knicks’ defensive rock, Tyson Chandler, has returned from injury. In his three games back, New York is 2-1 (with wins over dreadful Milwaukee and Orlando, but wins nonetheless) and the Knicks might actually be ready to surge back into the East’s muddled playoff picture. Sharp-shooting rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. has been brilliant for the Knicks and should continue to improve, so there’s that too. If the Knicks can keep up with the Thunder, it should be a fun matinée at MSG.

Miami Heat (21-6) @ Los Angeles Lakers (13-15) 5:00

As nighttime settles over the east coast, these two proud franchises will square off at the Staples Center. Lebron James and the Heat have been as advertised this year. That is to say that the defending champs are incredible once again. Lebron is shooting 60% from the field, which is simply asinine. The Lakers meanwhile have been mediocre. They’ve scored a lot, allowed a lot of points, and played all but six games without Kobe Bryant. The Lakers are eroding and don’t look like a playoff team, but if you’re not enticed simply by the fact that LBJ will be playing, tune in to this game to see Nick Young–Swaggy P is always a good time.

Houston Rockets (18-11) @ San Antonio Spurs (22-6) 8: 00

For my money, this is the game of the day, as these two talented Texan teams (alliteration, baby!) will face off. Houston is off to a great start–James Harden has been busy proving that last year was no fluke (and playing some truly despicable defense on the side), Jeremy Lin is having the best season of his career, Chandler Parsons is looking like a star (although he’s still sneaky bad at free throw shooting), and Dwight Howard is doing his 18-13 thing without much drama. The Rockets won’t wow you with their defense, but boy can they score. The Spurs, on the other hand, will wow you with their defense, as coach Greg Popovich’s team is another keeper. Sure, the Spurs are old as dirt, but they’ve also got that elusive, magical winning formula. Tony Parker is clearly the star of the show in San Antonio, but Kawhi Leonard continues to get better and the Spurs somehow have nine guys averaging at least seven points per game (nine!!!). Rockets-Spurs should be a lot of fun.

Los Angeles Clippers (20-9) @ Golden State Warriors (16-13) 10: 30

Chris Paul and the Clippers are on a nice little winning streak.

Chris Paul and the Clippers are on a nice little winning streak.

To wash all the hoops down, the night will conclude with a game that should be easy on the eyes. The Clippers and Warriors are two of the best offensive teams in the league and this game should be a showcase of scoring. In the off-season the Clippers did what teams with championship aspirations do–they scooped up one of the best coaches in the league (Doc Rivers) and a defensive stopper/glue guy (Jared Dudley). Early returns have been positive, if unspectacular, as the Clippers’ record indicates. Defensively, Doc’s team remains a work in progress, but Chris Paul directs an offense with so many weapons (Blake Griffin, Jamal Crawford, J.J. Redick) that it is almost unstoppable. The Clips have appeared to find their groove of late, winning their last five games. The Warriors, on the other hand, have yet to truly find their groove, although they have won two straight. A big positive so far this year for Golden State has been that their injury-prone center, the highly skilled Andrew Bogut, has been healthy and good. They’ve also received continued excellent production from the “Splash Brothers”, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, plenty of offense from David Lee, and good play from sensational second-year wing Harrison Barnes. The Warriors have been inconsistent so far, particularly on the defensive end, but their array of outstanding offensive players makes them one of the most entertaining teams in the NBA to watch.

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Thoughts Following a Rough Night for the Brooklyn Nets

Jason Kidd's NBA coaching debut was thoroughly disappointing.

Jason Kidd’s NBA coaching debut was thoroughly disappointing.

Last night, you could have fooled me into thinking that the Brooklyn Nets were tanking. You could have told me that it was the Orlando Magic that loaded up on star power in the off-season to create perhaps the most talented team in the NBA, an unmistakable contender in the loaded Eastern Conference. You could have even added that the Magic were coming off an extremely impressive win over the Miami Heat. My eyes would have believed you.

The Orlando Magic manhandled Brooklyn at the Amway Center, rolling to a decisive 107-86 victory. And, to be honest, it looked like the Nets were treating the game like an exhibition. Perhaps nobody told Jason Kidd, making his coaching debut following a two-game suspension, that the regular season had started.

Brooklyn played their starters sparingly–only Brook Lopez saw more than 30 minutes of time on the hardwood and Joe Johnson and Kevin Garnett logged a mere 45 combined minutes. The minute numbers were not a shock. The Nets gave their undeniably old starters plenty of time on the pine in the Nets’ 101-100 win over Miami on Friday (Lopez played 20 minutes and Pierce led the team with 31 minutes of court time) and in their season-opening loss to Cleveland on Wednesday (Deron Williams played only 22 minutes).

What should be more shocking, however, is the fact that Nets looked like they were playing at half speed throughout their contest with Orlando.  They looked defensively disinterested and offensively stagnant, nothing like the defensively tough, offensively electric, unselfish team that took down the reigning champs just a couple of nights before.

Look, the Nets clearly put out two totally different types of efforts this weekend. One was a playoff-type effort against an elite team at home. The other was a lackluster performance on the road against one of the league’s most talent-less teams befitting of the pre-season. As bad as the loss to Orlando was (it was putrid),the pattern represents nothing I’ve not seen many, many times over the past few years as a Boston Celtics fan. And we all know that teams as talented as Brooklyn (and especially teams as old as Brooklyn) take nights off. This test-tube Nets team is one formulated for success in the playoffs. But, for the sake of Nets fans from Boston to Albuquerque (and for the sake of many other relevant issues, like playoff seeding and, ya know, general team confidence), can the Nets please, please, PLEASE, not make a habit of putting out performances like last night’s!?

The Nets have a big game against the uber-talented Indiana Pacers on Saturday night at the Barclays Center. I’d bet BOTH of my cats that Nets will bring it in that game. I’m much more concerned about their meeting against the lowly Utah Jazz tomorrow evening.

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Reacting to the Celtics-Nets Trade as a Celtics-Nets Fan

Let’s be clear; the Boston Celtics have long been my one, single, favorite NBA team.

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are going to Brooklyn and taking me fanship (not a word, but whatever) with them.

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are going to Brooklyn and taking my fanship (not a word, but it should be) with them.

But sometimes two is better than one. And, sans Manny Ramirez, my favorite pro athlete is Paul Pierce. So, I’ve got to stick with my guy.

When the rumors regarding a potential trade between the Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets started to spread like greased lightning across cyber space, I will admit that my first reaction was pure excitement. With a win-now mentality, svelte jerseys, and the combo of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson in their back court, I couldn’t help but root for Brooklyn this past season, particularly after they gave me free stuff at their opening playoff game with Chicago a couple of months ago (I LOVE FREE STUFF).  So, if the Celtics were going to dump Captain Paul and the Big Ticket, Brooklyn was the optimal place for such dumping to occur, at least for me.

Still, I thought the deal looked like a long shot. A pipe dream. Too good to be true.

And then it did happen.

In what has to be considered a blockbuster  trade of Big Apple-sized proportions, the Nets agreed upon a deal with the Boston Celtics yesterday that sent three first round picks, Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Keith Bogans, Kris Joseph, and Kris Humphries to Beantown in exchange for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry.  For my money, the new Brooklyn Nets are the coolest team in NBA history. And a serious title contender as well.

My goodness the Nets should be good. Their starting lineup (Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Brook Lopez) quite literally carries the luster of an All-Star lineup. Sure, the Nets still need to fill in their bench, health will be a concern, and Jason Kidd is a novice head coach, but this team has the look of a championship-caliber squad. Everyone in the starting lineup, sans KG, is capable of dropping close to 20 points a night. They will score. At will. Do they have too many stars? I doubt it; neither Pierce nor Garnett demand a high volume of touches. Both let the game come to them on the offensive end.

Defensively, they should also be good, and much improved. The combo of the incredibly physical and intense Garnett and Reggie Evans down low is sure to drive opponents’ front courts bananas.  Pierce and Johnson are solid defenders also.

And, of course, Garnett and Pierce should help foster a winning culture–the Nets seemed to lack heart when they lost to the injured and inferior Bulls in the playoffs this spring.

On paper, the sky is the limit with this Nets team. But, whether or not they can meet what are sure to be incredible expectations (for more on the Nets and other much-hyped teams, check out Danny Cooper’s post on the issue here), I will be along for the ride, rooting for the flashy franchise.

This trade leaves me ready to follow the Truth and become a true Nets fan, traitorous though it may sound. But don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on shirking all of my responsibilities as a Celtics fan. I might be able to jump aboard a bandwagon in one day (honestly, my love of the Nets has been building for a while) , but I certainly can’t leap off one that quickly. That said, I do think I’ll be rooting for the Celtics to lose for the moment (and not just because of an ill-advised bet I made)–a well executed tank job could put them in the running for super-prospect Andrew Wiggins in next season’s draft.

On the court, I’ll be more interested in watching my new team, the new-look Nets. I can’t wait to see Joe Johnson, with his sublime handle and refined mid-range game, playing off of the eternally gifted marksman that is Pierce. Nor can I wait to see Deron Williams running pick and rolls with KG. Brooklyn will be a beautiful team to watch offensively and a rugged team defensively. My type of team.

So, Hello Brooklyn! I can dig what you’re doing and wanna hop aboard. Let’s go!

Brooooooooooooklyn.

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Historic Hype and the 2013 Brooklyn Nets

Last night, under the cover of the NBA Draft, the Brooklyn Nets pulled off a heist, stealing Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry from the Boston Celtics for Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, other spare parts, and 3 first-round draft picks.

The Nets’ lineup overnight became one of the most dangerous in the NBA, a potent mix of scorers and grinders who will aim to lead the Nets to their first NBA Finals appearance since 2003.

Of course, the Nets will not play a game until the fall, leaving the rest of the summer for analysts and fans to hype the rotation to no end. A similar phenomenon occurred last year when the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Steve Nash and Dwight Howard.

Although many believed the super squad of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Nash, and Howard were primed to meet the Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals, the Lakers were a massive disappointment. They finished as the eighth seed in the Western Conference after a regular season filled with mistrust and turmoil and were swept by the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs.

This sort of disappointing season is a definite possibility for the newly-formed Nets, as it is with any team formed by blockbusters and mega deals such as the Nets. Let’s take a look back at several other big-name teams to see how they fared in terms of regular season and playoff success.

1996-1997 Houston Rockets

Coming off two consecutive championships, the Houston Rockets made a big move in the offseason, acquiring Charles Barkely from the Phoenix Suns to team up with Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. While the Rockets went 57-25, they lost in the conference finals to a Utah Jazz team they had beaten in the prior two years to get to the Finals. Despite being on a team with two other Hall of Famers, Barkley didn’t win a ring in 1997, and would finish his career without a single championship.

2007-2008 Boston Celtics

The success of this mighty team, which was carried by the main two players in the Nets-Celts deal, bodes well for the Nets. Boston mainstay Paul Pierce was joined by Kevin Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves and Ray Allen from the Seattle Supersonics to form the somewhat original “Big Three.” As PG Rajon Rondo developed mid season, the Celtics won 66 games. The Celtics beat the Lakers in the 2008 NBA Finals, reaching their full potential their first year together. Although the Celtics never won another title in the KG-Pierce-Allen era, they experienced playoff success every year until this past season.

2003-2004 Los Angeles Lakers

Karl Malone and Gary Payton, two surefire Hall of Famers without rings, joined a Lakers team which had completed a three peat from 2000-2002 but lost to the Spurs in the 2003 playoffs. Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and the aging stars formed a formidable quartet. The Lakers reached the NBA Finals fairly easily, but the Detroit Pistons upset the super squad. Although Payton won a ring with O’Neal and Dwyane Wade on the 2006 Miami Heat, Malone would never win a ring.

2010-2011 Miami Heat

Hatred poured in after the events of July 8, 2010. Lebron James made “The Decision” to “take his talents to South Beach” and join Wade, Chris Bosh, and the Miami Heat. After hosting a welcome party that was pure Miami, people were even angrier. Amidst much drama, the Heat got the 2nd seed in the East with a 58-24 record and fought their way to the NBA Finals. There, the Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki shocked the world by beating the Heat in 6 games. While this was an unpleasant setback for the Heat, they have recovered quite well, winning two straight NBA titles since the loss. The Heat and Nets should be jostling for top seeding in the East all season this year.

It is hard to tell what sort of team the 2013-2014 Brooklyn Nets will be before they play a single game, but they have the potential to be one of the highest-scoring groups in NBA history. Fans will have to wait and see if they live up to that potential like the 2008 Celtics or fail like the 1997 Rockets.

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