With the Brooklyn Nets tied one game a piece with the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Nets will need to find an edge to help them escape Chicago with a victory or two. Reserve forward Andray Blatche could give them that edge.
Blatche took advantage of the opportunity to repair his career that was offered to him by the Nets by having what many would consider his best NBA season overall. Playing in all 82 games, mostly off the bench, Blatche averaged 10.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game while shooting a career-high .512 from the field and posting an outstanding player efficiency rating of 21.9. Blatche gave the Nets a consistent reserve big man option to spell Brook Lopez or Reggie Evans, coming in and using his offensive talents to score with ease.
But ability was never a question for Blatche; it was his maturity and desire. His lack of both led to the Washington Wizards decision to amnesty Blatche before the season, giving the Nets the right to claim him off of waivers.
Blatche at 6’11” and 235 pounds has the size to dominate the Bulls reserves in the paint, and he will need to establish that dominance on the road in Chicago. After scoring 16 points to help the Nets to a win in game 1 Blatche was held to only eight in game 2, with the Nets losing by eight to Chicago.
Even if one of the Nets main scorers are having an off night, Brooklyn can still pull out victories if Blatche can score effectively. His play off the bench will be key in the Nets play on the road and to them winning the series.