Nov 1, 2013, 1:17 PM EDT
You want your team to believe in itself, believe it can beat anyone — especially if you are the Brooklyn Nets, a team with a one (two tops) year title window with this core.
Having them say it publicly, that’s something else entirely.
“I don’t know if we felt we were a better team than the Heat last year,” Williams said during a sitdown with first-year Brooklyn coach Jason Kidd for ESPN’s “SportsCenter” conversation. “And so I think in order for us to be able to beat them this year, we have to feel like we are a better team and we can beat them. And I think we do.”
What did you expect him to say?
Here’s the thing — this game means far more to Brooklyn and their building of a team identity than it does Miami. Brooklyn needs to believe they can beat the Heat. Miami is the championship bar to clear now, Brooklyn has to think they can clear it.
Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Basketball league tonight (Friday). It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $3,500. Starts at 7pm ET. Here’s the link.
On the other side, the Heat know who they are and what they have to do to win another title, and they know a November win or loss to Brooklyn matters no more than the opening night win over Chicago or loss the next day in Philadelphia. For the Heat there are no statement games in November.
Brooklyn may not see it that way.
“I think it will definitely be a statement game,” center Brook Lopez said Thursday. “It’s going to be a great benchmark for us. We absolutely believe we’re capable of competing with them and that’s something we’re going to want to be doing down the line, obviously, in the playoffs. So we’re definitely anticipating a high-energy, important game.”
In the end, the outcome of a game in November is an incredibly poor predictor of what could happen if these teams meet in the playoffs. But for a Brooklyn team trying to believe it matters a little more.
- PBT Extra: Free agent signings we didn’t love 4
- Report: Wes Matthews reaches agreement to join Dallas Mavericks 20
- PBT Extra: Five best free agent signings in the first days of free agency 9
- Dwyane Wade agrees to one-year, $20 million deal to stay with Heat 54
- PBT Podcast: Talking best signings of free agency so far 0
- Report: Pacers agree to four-year, $44 million contract with Monta Ellis 22
- Report: Greg Monroe signing a maximum contract with Bucks 56
- Lakers, Knicks struggle on hectic first day of free agency 64