Ian Eagle: Why Nets' superstar trio is at 'another level'


Well, so much for wondering whether the Brooklyn Nets' superstar trio is capable of jelling during the playoffs.

It only took five games -- one could actually argue four -- for Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden to ace their chemistry test, as they scored a combined 83 points in the Nets' series-clinching Game 5 win against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night. The trio also scored a combined 85.3 points per game in the first round, and according to ESPN Stats & Info, that's the most points by a trio in any playoff series in NBA history.

Brooklyn, by design, is no ordinary juggernaut. When clicking on all cylinders, they're an inexorable force. And Nets television play-by-play voice Ian Eagle believes fans would be hard-pressed to name a greater Big Three.

"I think most recently, Golden State, that was just such a pleasing style of basketball, from a play-by-play perspective, to call their games," Eagle told the Tiki and Tierney show on Wednesday. "The ball was always moving. You had [Stephen] Curry, you had [Klay] Thompson, you had Durant, when he was there. And there was something aesthetically very pleasing and stylistic. But this [Nets Big Three] is actually at another level because of the individual talents of Kyrie Irving and James Harden and Kevin Durant.

"You take them all separately, and you could put together a highlight reel for a season that you'd say, 'Oh, okay, that's a career highlight reel.' No, no, that's just a small amount of games from this year, what they've all done during certain points of this season. And now you blend it together, when it's rolling, I don't know if you can come up with a trio that would consistently put this out there the way that they have. Are there moments or flashes from teams in the past? Yes. But that can do it over the course of a series?

"And I think that's part of the issue in trying to figure out who's going to clip them in this postseason. You're going to have to go out and score 120, 125. You're going to have to literally outscore them. I know that's the whole point of basketball, but in this case, we're really breaking it down to the numbers. Do you have it in you to average 120-125 points per game in a playoff series to knock a team out four out of seven games."

The three-seeded Milwaukee Bucks could be the answer to Eagle's question. Their first-round series was also stress-free, as they swept the Miami Heat in convincing fashion, setting up an East semifinal date with Brooklyn.

According to FiveThirtyEight's projections, the Nets have a 65-percent chance of winning the series and advancing to the Conference Finals.

"There is pressure on the Nets. They know it," Eagle said. "I do think they've embraced it, I don't think they've shied away from it. They've acknowledged it, they haven't downplayed it. They realize what's at stake. And Harden, he completely acknowledges that this is it. This is the best chance he's ever had [at winning a championship]. And while Durant already has his titles and his accolades, and Kyrie has his title, James does not.

"When you start getting into those conversations about the best players of their era, you kind of need the title with it. Fair or unfair, it's just how it is. And he knows it, and he's accepted that this is what he's here for. This is why he wanted this. He wanted this move to happen."

Game 1 between Brooklyn and Milwaukee will take place on Saturday night at Barclays Center, with tipoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.

The entire conversation between Eagle and Tiki and Tierney can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow the Tiki and Tierney Show on Twitter @TikiAndTierney and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.

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