The Celtics’ protection recognized exactly find out how to defend Kevin Durant, utilizing an assortment of seems, a lot size and much more aggressiveness to attenuate the famous person all through the four-game sweep.
Boston was much less refined in attacking Nic Claxton’s weak spot: Simply foul him rather a lot.
Hack-a-Clax took over the Nets’ 116-112 Sport 4 loss at Barclays Heart on Monday evening, when the Nets heart missed his first 10 free throws, showing to have much less confidence with each and inducing louder and louder groans from the house crowd.
The Nets had been 6 of 15 from the road within the first half, seven of these misses by Claxton. They trailed on the break by eight.
It wasn’t a pure throwback to Hack-a-Shaq — Claxton sometimes solely was fouled when he was close to the ring — however the Celtics tried to hit him laborious any time he was beneath.
Claxton went 0-for-6 from the road within the first quarter, missed yet one more within the second and bricked three within the third earlier than lastly hitting his eleventh attempt. Till the ultimate minutes of the fourth quarter when the sport was hanging within the steadiness, the constructing was loudest upon Claxton swishing one free throw.
“All of us undergo durations like that,” coach Steve Nash mentioned of the 23-year-old, who really had improved his foul taking pictures this season, leaping from 48.4 % to 58.1 %. “He’s a younger participant enjoying in a giant recreation, and he’s a growing free-throw shooter, so to talk.
“And so I felt for him, however that’s a part of the rising pains, and he’s supplied rather a lot for us the final couple months.”
Someway, Claxton nonetheless supplied a considerably productive recreation. Probably the most agile and athletic heart the Nets have, he was 6 of 6 from the sphere for 13 factors with six rebounds, taking over the minutes that Andre Drummond used to obtain.
Claxton is the higher defender, although he watched from the bench all through the fourth quarter, when Blake Griffin acquired the majority of the big-man minutes.
“Pleased with him it doesn’t matter what,” Nash mentioned of Claxton, who went 4 of twenty-two from the road within the sequence. “I believe that he’ll develop from this.”