When asked about the Boston Celtics' defensive prowess, Kevin Durant highlighted their overall size advantage. He said:
"I just think they've got more size than us. Marcus Smart is the smallest guy in the lineup, and he's six-foot-four."
Marcus Smart and Derrick White are the smallest Celtics players at six-foot-four. Payton Pritchard is six-foot-one, but has seen the floor for an average of just 12 minutes per game in this series.
The Brooklyn Nets, on the other hand, have multiple players in their rotation under six-foot-four. Kyrie Irving, Bruce Brown, Seth Curry, Goran Dragic, Cam Thomas, David Duke Jr. and Patty Mills fall below that mark.
The Celtics have a commanding 3-0 series lead and many analysts and oddsmakers have predicted a sweep.
The Celtics' first-ranked defense has choked them on that end of the floor and the Nets are shooting an abysmal percentage from the field. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have been quite underwhelming, shooting less than 40%.
It doesn't look like the Nets are going to recover from this.
Durant was not looking for an excuse for their poor shooting, but rather stating a fact that the Celtics are simply the better defensive team. Boston's superior physical tools have made it difficult for everyone on the Nets.
The Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant era has been disappointing
When Kevin Durant joined the Brooklyn Nets, many expected numerous championships in the team's future. It certainly wasn't an outlandish prediction. They first acquired Durant and Kyrie Irving, then traded for the 2018 MVP and three-time scoring champion James Harden.
However, they have won just a single playoff series up to this point.
That one series win was against an injured Boston Celtics team in 2021. The revitalized Celtics are now set to exact their revenge. The Nets reached Game 7 against the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks, but were unable to seal the deal.
In three seasons with Durant, the Nets have finished 35-37, 48-24 and 44-38, respectively. They never even cracked the 50-win mark, despite analysts declaring that they were the league's greatest collection of talent.
Now the duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are crumbling before our eyes. They shot a combined 1-17 in the second half of Game 2 and were visibly passive in Game 3.
They are on the verge of a sweep and, even if they force a Game 5, a first-round exit is practically inevitable. They are severely outmatched and aren't expected to win the next four games in a row.
No team has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit and the Nets don't look like they are going to be the first.
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Nets force Game 5