It’s one thing to split the first two games of a playoff series as the Nets did with the 76ers in their first-round match in Philadelphia. But it’s quite another to get kicked in the teeth as the Nets did in a Game 2 loss in which they gave up 51 third-quarter points and trailed by as much as 32 points.
Yes, the home-court advantage has shifted to the Nets, but after the beating they took, it’s anything but secure. So, Nets coach Kenny Atkinson put a positive spin on the magnitude of the loss for his team’s mental health before Game 3 Thursday night at Barclays Center.
“It’s the old story — if you told us before that we would split in Philly, I think we’d be happy,” Atkinson said after Game 2. “But I’m not pleased with the way we presented ourselves. We were below average quite honestly.
“I do think the first half gives me hope we can go toe-to-toe with these guys. One bad quarter. We have to flush it. One thing about the Brooklyn Nets, they’ve always bounced back and always responded after a game like this. I expect our guys to respond.”
The Nets had Tuesday off and return to practice Wednesday. Forward Jared Dudley, who missed Game 2 with right calf tightness, is likely to return, and Atkinson said he rested backup center Ed Davis (sprained right ankle) as a precaution in the second half of Game 2.
When they take the court for Game 3, the Nets will be making their first home playoff appearance in four seasons, and they are looking forward to celebrating with their fans.
“We’re very excited,” D’Angelo Russell said. “I know the Barclays Center is going to be jumping. We’re excited about getting back home and taking care of home court. The buzz around the city is what we need. We need that atmosphere. We need that intensity to be up like that.”