In their 2001 track “Man in the Middle,” the Bee Gees sang, “I’m just the man in the middle of a complicated plan … Ah, yes, I’m weary from battle.” Thus far in their series against the Raptors, the Nets’ men in the middle have looked very weary.
Brooklyn has been out-rebounded 97-67 through two games, including a 52-30 beatdown on the glass in Tuesday night’s 100-95 loss. The Raptors had four players with nine or more rebounds in Game 2, while the Nets had none — they were led by Paul Pierce and Mason Plumlee, who had six each.
Kevin Garnett has started both games in this series at center but has not been a difference-maker in his limited minutes. He played in his 133rd career playoff game on Tuesday, but grabbed just four rebounds in 19 minutes. The 37-year-old has a lot of mileage and a bad back — if the Nets aren’t going to loosen the reigns and let him play, then someone needs to fill the void.
Plumlee would be the obvious choice, as he averaged 5.7 rebounds per game as a starter in Garnett’s absence this season. The rookie hasn’t made much noise in the playoffs, however, averaging 4.5 rebounds in 16.5 minutes.
Veteran Andray Blatche is another candidate to step up on the glass. Although he is wildly inconsistent, Blatche had six games this season with 12 or more rebounds. He only played eight minutes in Game 2, but could be a bigger factor with more playing time.