All season long, the Brooklyn Nets have been touting their depth -- and rightfully so.
But so far in these playoffs -- yes, it’s only been two games -- the Nets’ bench has underperformed.
Bottom line: The Nets have been a much better team when their starters are on the court.
Just look at some of these scoring breakdowns:
61 minutes on-court: 130-103 Nets
35 minutes on-bench: 84-59 Raptors
39 minutes on-court: 90-73 Nets
57 minutes on-bench: 114-99 Raptors
74 minutes on-court: 158-133 Nets
22 minutes on-bench: 54-31 Raptors
81 minutes on-court: 163-146 Nets
15 minutes on-bench: 41-26 Raptors
On-court plus/minus is a flawed stat, sure, but in this case it kind of tells the tale:
Paul Pierce: Plus-27
Deron Williams: Plus-25
Kevin Garnett: Plus-17
Joe Johnson: Plus-17
Mirza Teletovic: Minus-23
Marcus Thornton: Minus-19
Andray Blatche: Minus-16
Alan Anderson: Minus-14
Brooklyn’s bench overall: 169 minutes, 46 points, 38.3 percent shooting, 4-for-20 3-point range, 6-for-14 free-throw line.
This is something Nets coach Jason Kidd is going to have to weigh going forward.
Remember: All season long, Kidd has made sure his starters have gotten the proper rest -- too much rest, it could be argued.
But also remember: Kidd broke down last season, in his age 40 campaign, and was no longer an effective player by the playoffs. His veteran starters, to this point, seem fresh and have been really productive.
Which brings us to the great conundrum of the first half of the fourth quarter.
Kidd likes to bring his starters back around the six-minute mark.
Lineup: Shaun Livingston-Thornton-Johnson-Teletovic-Blatche
Time played: 5:35
Score: 11-6 Raptors (67-62 Nets to 73-73 tie)
Time played: 5:42
Score: 15-12 Raptors (66-64 Nets to 79-78 Raptors)
Kidd probably needs to pull his reserves earlier in the fourth quarter and go to his starters earlier -- or, at least, play more of them with the reserves during that span. What he’s trying to do makes sense -- in the regular season. Not so much in what are essentially must-win games. The Nets had a 69-64 lead in the fourth in Game 2 on Tuesday night. Going up 2-0 probably puts the series away. Instead, his first-half-of-the-fourth-quarter unit gave that lead up.
Yes, Pierce still had a chance to hit that 3-pointer late. Fine. But Brooklyn failed to gain a stranglehold of the series.