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How to Defeat the Los Angeles Lakers
Prior to acquiring Dwight Howard, the Los Angeles Lakers were engaged in fan-oriented debates over who had the best starting lineup in the NBA. Their main opposition just so happened to be the Brooklyn Nets, who certainly do have the impressive five.
Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez can hold their own against any team. In fact, they can pull off a win against even the greatest of teams this league has to offer.
The question is, what would it take to overcome the L.A. Lakers?
Brook Lopez is far more criticized than he deserves to be. With that being said, to compare his abilities to those of Dwight Howard would stretch beyond the confines of ignorant. Fortunately, he's not alone.
Kris Humphries will not score or offer the versatility like Pau Gasol is capable of. What he will do, however, is out-rebound any and every opponent he faces.
This tenacity on the glass should set the tone for the Brooklyn Nets early and establish themselves as a foe who does not fear Dwight Howard.
Deron Williams, meanwhile, is one of the Top 15 players in the league while Joe Johnson is one of the most lethal scorers in the world. Between the two of them, the Nets' size and skill on the perimeter should offer them a great chance at a W.
Williams and Johnson can both shoot the lights out and facilitate an offense to perfection. Should they do that against the Lakers, the Nets could pull out the win.
Fortunately for Brooklyn, it has another important piece to the puzzle. Gerald Wallace, one of the Top 10 defenders in the game, can lock down any opponent from the point to the 4.
Expect him to do just that as MarShon Brooks shifts in and out of the game, pushing Wallace all across the floor depending on the rotation the Nets use. Regardless of where he is, expect him to make the game-changing play on either end.
How to Defeat the Miami Heat
Gerald Wallace matches up well with LeBron James, while Joe Johnson has always given Dwyane Wade fits. With that being known, why don't we acknowledge one thing: From a talent perspective, it's not unfair to say that the Brooklyn Nets are the better team with Wade and James out of the picture.
Chris Bosh is the superior player, but could be bullied by Kris Humphries on the interior. Humphries, the superior rebounder, could force Bosh out of the paint and make him rely on his mid-range game more than he'd like to.
This opens the door for Brook Lopez to score against either Bosh or Udonis Haslem. While Lopez has become the target of a significant amount of negative attention, he's a 20 point per game scorer, and that cannot be overlooked.
With the Brooklyn Nets keeping it close with the Miami Heat, we now get to the greatest advantage the franchise possesses: Deron Williams.
D-Will has long been an elite point guard in this league, as he's just as likely to put up 20 points as he is to dish out 10 assists. As of the London Olympics, we've also seen an elevated level of defensive effort that has led to smothering ball pressure.
With the temperamental Mario Chalmers as his assignment, don't be surprised to see Deron Williams to decide this game. If not, take note of the fact that Brooklyn has all but copied the Miami Heat's system for success.
With MarShon Brooks coming off of the bench, the Brooklyn Nets can now go small with the Miami Heat and play the same style. Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade, Shane Battier, LeBron James and Chris Bosh can now meet Deron Williams, MarShon Brooks, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Brook Lopez.
Now if this isn't a great matchup, I'm not sure what is.