Masai Ujiri

Counting on your fans to do the job for you is always a bad premise in the playoffs, and putting too much emphasis on the reaction Masai Ujiri will create in the arena after his f@#$ Brooklyn moments from last weekend is the wrong way for the Brooklyn Nets to be preparing themselves for game 3 against the Toronto Raptors.

Kevin Garnett needs to focus on whatever basketball skills remain in his body, and how he’s going to stop and handle Jonas Valanciunas, with or without his trash talking that just doesn’t have the same influence as in the past, instead of trying to think about how the Nets fans will react to Ujiri sitting in close proximity to them and what they’re going to say to them.

Paul Pierce, another one who has been doing a lot of talking and less basketball in game 2. Trash talking doesn’t win basketball games. It might turn a crowd a bit more noisy or raucous than it would already have been, but that crowd didn’t help the Raptors come away with the win in game 1 because the team played badly. The same crowd was just as loud in game 2, but because Casey made adjustments and DeMar DeRozan exploded in the fourth quarter, the result was completely different.

The Nets have desperation pushing them in this series, and in any game in the playoffs. There aren’t going to be more chances for this group to win championships or do something in the deep stages of the playoffs. Deron Williams might be here to stay, but he’s no longer someone you might compare to Chris Paul. Kevin Garnett wouldn’t start or even get more than 15 minutes on most teams in the NBA, even the bad ones. Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce have their moments, but are far from consistently good.

The Raptors have a brighter future, and less pressure on their shoulders. They also have less experience with handling this kind of situation. Sometimes it works in their benefits. Less aware of that feeling when a season is truly over in the playoffs. Less aware of feeling elimination waiting just around the corner. The Nets have champions among them, but proud players, who feel like they are good enough to make something many thought impossible happen. They need to focus on playing better, not making their crowd feel “hot” for what a GM said.

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