AP Photo/John Minchillo
The takes are coming in scorching with the Boston Celtics one win away from sweeping the Brooklyn Nets out of the playoffs.
Celtics legend Paul Pierce tweeted after Boston’s 109-103 win in Game 3 on Saturday that Jayson Tatum might be passing Kevin Durant on the NBA hierarchy:
Tatum had his highest-scoring recreation of the sequence Saturday with 39 factors on 13-of-29 taking pictures. He additionally had six assists, six steals and 5 rebounds.
The ultimate possession of the sport for the Celtics was Tatum stealing a go from Durant and slamming the ball to place an exclamation level on the win.
Even although he’s averaging 29.7 factors per recreation within the sequence, Tatum’s protection on Durant has been the story towards the Nets. The Celtics star shot simply 5-of-16 from the sector in Game 2, however he did this when matched up with Durant:
Chris Forsberg @ChrisForsberg_
Kevin Durant when guarded by Jayson Tatum in Game 2 per NBA monitoring: <br><br>10:33 matchup time<br>4 PTS<br>0-7 FG<br>3 TO<br>1 BLK<br><br>Nets had been 2-11 FG total when defended by Tatum. Impacted the sport with protection and playmaking even when he was struggling early.
Durant had simply 16 factors with practically as many turnovers (5) as discipline objectives (six) in Game 3. This was his lowest-scoring postseason recreation since Game 2 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals, excluding when he left Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals within the second quarter after rupturing his Achilles.
While Tatum completely deserves credit score for the work he is doing on protection on this sequence, Durant’s struggles will also be attributed to how a lot he has performed since getting back from a sprained MCL on March 3.
Nets head coach Steve Nash had Durant play 38.6 minutes per recreation over the ultimate 19 video games of the common season. He is averaging 42.8 minutes over 4 video games between the play-in match and postseason up to now.
Tatum is undoubtedly elevating himself into superstardom. Durant’s longevity makes it arduous to say the Celtics ahead has handed him on the NBA hierarchy, however Tatum is placing collectively a powerful argument primarily based on how this sequence has performed out so far.