It was the Joe Harris show in the opening quarter
Harris flies under the radar on this Nets squad replete with Hall-of-Fame-caliber talents. He’s an ideal fit alongside the big three in Brooklyn as someone who can space the floor and capitalize on the attention the trio draws from the defense. After a sub-par scoring display in Game 1 (4-for-10 from the field, 2-for-6 on threes), Harris was characteristically torrid on the perimeter to begin Game 2.
The sharp-shooting wing nearly doubled his scoring output on Saturday in just seven minutes of first-quarter play, dropping 16 points while connecting on all four of his treys and six of seven shots in total. Harris led all Nets in plus/minus at the end of one with a +16, and for a good reason. His shot-making broke the game open for the Nets and dug Boston in a hole quite literally from the get-go. Containing Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Kevin Durant is an incredibly tall task in itself. Harris operating at this level makes the Nets offensive attack that much more tricky to contain.
Share the sugar, C’s
The Nets, who employ three of the deadliest isolation creators of all time, put on a masterclass on effective ball and player movement. Sure, Harris’ sizzling shooting went a long way towards Brooklyn piling up the assists, but it went deeper than one lone person. Six Nets scored five-plus points and three connected on two or more threes. They passed up good shots for great ones, and this strategy saw Brooklyn’s lead continue to balloon as the first half progressed.
The Nets nearly tripled Boston in the assists department, 7-19. At the start of Game 1, the C’s found success by implementing imaginative off-ball sets. The Celtics’ creativity all but evaporated for much of the first 24 minutes of Game 2. One Celtic made an impact with his passing: Marcus Smart. Dishing out five assists in 19 minutes, he was the only member of the green to register more than a single dime.