Brooklyn Nets failed to defend homecourt. Are they in trouble?
Lasaitis: I do think they are in a little bit of trouble. I saw the Nets winning the series in 6 or 7 games, but dropping a game at home like they did Monday evening will not help their case. Most alarming was their guard play — Deron Williams shot 1-9, while Joe Johnson shot an inefficient 6-18. The Bulls will be even thougher defensively on their home floor and Brooklyn has to steal at least one game on the road. Even so, this series is still very open.
Cook: No? Sure, they’d have liked to hold serve in Brooklyn, but losing one game at home doesn’t mean they’re in grave danger of losing the series. The Pacers lost to the Dwight-less Magic at home last year. It happens. They’re still locked in a cage match with these relentless Bulls, and losing last night with such a remarkably slow pace reaffirmed that.
Memphis is 2-0 down, but played better in game 2. What positives do they take home?
Lasaitis: They played significantly better, and after an embarassing game 1 loss, their smothering defense was back on track. Their guard play was also very impressive. Both Tony Allen and Mike Conley did their job defensively, and both put up solid numbers. While Allen struggled at the free throw line, he scored 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Conley was extremely aggressive, consistently getting to the basket. His 28 points and 9 assists is exactly what Memphis needs from him.
Cook: They rebounded better in game 2, held Blake Griffin in check after the first quarter, and proved they have the offensive power to at the very least hang with the Clippers. It’s still a tough matchup for the Grizz, but they played well in game 2 and can likely play even better (particularly Mike Conley, who missed four FTs after shooting 83% on the season; and Zach Randolph, who looked good when he wasn’t in foul trouble.)