Bruce Brown apparently sees a weakness the Brooklyn Nets can exploit against the Boston Celtics.
After the Nets defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in Tuesday night's NBA play-in tournament game to clinch the No. 7 seed and set up a first-round playoff matchup with the No. 2 seed Celtics, Brown was asked about the key to having success against Boston.
"Now they don't have Robert Williams, so they have less of a presence in the paint, and we could attack Al Horford and (Daniel) Theis. So them not having Robert Williams is huge."
Brown isn't wrong: The absence of Williams, a dangerous lob threat on offense and lethal shot-blocker on defense, is a big deal. While Horford and Theis are solid players, they can't alter the game on both ends like Williams.
But if you're Theis or Horford (or Horford's sister, Anna), then Brown just gave you a little extra motivation.
Nets superstar Kevin Durant seemed irritated by Brown giving the Celtics' big men some unsolicited bulletin board material.
"Yeah, what did Bruce Brown say?" Durant asked reporters at the beginning of his press conference. "When he came out here… he said something I didn’t like."
Informed of Brown's comments, Durant joked that it was Brown's "caffeine pride talking" and stressed that Horford and Theis "can do the same stuff" as Williams. He then gave Brown an indirect mini-lecture.
"I mean, we respect our opponent," Durant said. "We don’t need to talk about what we're gonna do to them. I just don’t like that.
"But that’s just how Bruce is. He comes in and he keeps the same energy throughout the whole season. But we don’t need to say s--- like that. Let’s just go out there and hoop."
It's fine for Brown and his teammates to be privately confident entering their matchup with Boston, but Durant is right: The Nets don't need to give the Celtics any edge by publicly questioning the abilities of their big men.
The Celtics should be plenty motivated already: They seemed eager to face Brooklyn following their regular-season finale and will be out for revenge after Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Nets dismissed them from last year's playoffs in five games.
Game 1 tips off Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET at TD Garden. Expect Horford and Theis to come ready to play.