One thing has become clear so far in these playoff games for the Nets: if Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams perform well, they win. That was very true on Saturday night in Brooklyn’s 104-90 win over the Heat to cut Miami’s edge in the series to 2-1.
Garnett had 10 points on 5-for-6 ahooting, with a few of those coming on layups where he drove the lane. He also had 7 rebounds and 1 assist in 22:48. This shows the other constant, that the more Garnett plays, the better he is and likely results in a win, such as when he played 26 minutes each in the final two games of the Toronto series, each wins.
Garnett said of the game, “I think tonight we were definitely aggressive from the giddy-up. Although they came out aggressive themselves, I thought we kept it up for 48 minutes.”
Garnett said of this game being a must-win, “Yeah, pretty much and I think this is a must-win game coming up Monday. If we want to give ourselves any type of room or any type of chance, I think that we have to definitely take care of home. We stepped up for the city. We’re representing Brooklyn, that’s important. I thought our fans were great tonight, the building was electric, and we felt that from them. There wasn’t any indication of anything other than winning tonight. It builds confidence. We are a confident group already, but if anything, we built on that tonight. Now, it’s just consistency. We take care of home, make sure we follow the game plan, do the things that Jason (Kidd) wants us to do, and play relentless basketball.”
Williams entered Game 3 with a lot to prove after being held scoreless in the second game of the series on Thursday night. He delivered, with 9 points (3-11 FG, 1-2 on 3-pt), an impressive 11 assists, and 3 rebounds. The 11 assists tied his highest playoff assist total as a Net, in Game 6 of the first round on May 2, 2013 in Chicago. He is the fourth player in this postseason to record 11 or more assists with two or fewer turnovers in a game, with the others being Mike Conley and Chris Paul twice, and Russell Westbrook once. He is the fourth player in Nets’ history and the first since Jason Kidd (April 29, 2007) to record 11+ assists with two or fewer turnovers in a playoff game. With the 11 assists, Williams ties Michael Ray Richardson for fifth in Nets’ playoff history in total assists with 118.
Garnett said of Williams, “I thought Deron played great. He showed a lot of character, a lot of grit. I thought he led us and he got guys easy shots. We are going to need that. It’s huge. I told him after Game 2, you’re not going to play great every night, but you bring so many different dimensions to the game, so lean on that. I try to be a confident teammate for him, give him confidence and fuel him, and just let him know that it’s not the end of the world, not to be hard on yourself. I told him to enjoy Mother’s Day. I told everybody to enjoy Mother’s Day.”
Williams said of being more aggressive, “I felt like I was the same, you know. The way they are playing me with two on the ball and coming up at me, I need to make the right plays and get people the ball – I think I did that. I tried to attack a little bit more and get to the basket, but I just did not convert.”
The Nets made 15 three-pointers, and a good number were set up by Williams. He said of finding guys tonight on the three-point line, “”I think we shot it a lot better today than last game. The energy was a lot better and we shot 50 percent, so that makes my job a lot easier.”
On possibly going down 3-0 in the series, Williams said, “Well, we needed a win. I do not think the percentages of teams going down 3-0 are very good, so it was a much needed win and changes the series.”