NEW YORK – So now we all know why the Celtics didn’t exit of the best way to keep away from the Nets within the first spherical, didn’t kick away the season finale (hello, Milwaukee), didn’t sweat the outcomes of the play-in like a excessive schooler does the SAT. Brooklyn had star energy, however no system. An explosive offense that, because it seems, didn’t have a prayer against the NBA’s stingiest protection.
Boston took Game 3 of its first-round sequence against Brooklyn, grabbing a commanding 3–0 lead. The first quarter was shut. Jayson Tatum acquired sizzling for the Celtics. Kyrie Irving and Bruce Brown carried the Nets. Both groups shot 50% from the ground. After a back-and-forth second quarter, Boston went into the locker room up three.
The Nets ought to have stayed there. Two minutes into the third, the Celtics swelled the result in 10. Brooklyn clawed its approach again just a few instances. Brown, the Boston-born guard, scored a team-high 26. Nic Claxton added 13 factors and 7 rebounds off the bench. But the Nets have been greedy. Late within the third quarter, Steve Nash inserted Blake Griffin, who had not performed a significant minute in additional than a month. Griffin knocked down a pair of threes and two free throws in his eight minutes. He was additionally hunted relentlessly on the defensive finish and completed his stint a minus-four.
“It’s disappointing,” Steve Nash stated. “Obviously we didn’t play recreation.”
The Celtics are actually one win away from advancing and this crew appears to be like poised to make a run. Boston’s protection is choking. They compelled 21 turnovers on Saturday, scoring 37 factors off them. Irving completed with 16 factors, lacking all seven of his threes. Durant’s closing stat line appears to be like first rate—16 factors, eight rebounds, eight assists—however for the third straight recreation Durant regarded pedestrian. Midway via the second quarter, he had three discipline aim makes an attempt. He didn’t crack double figures till deep into the third. After making an attempt 20 free throws in Game 2, Durant didn’t rise up his first try till late within the fourth.
“Just a shitty recreation, man,” stated Durant. “Shitty recreation.”
What’s the deal? Durant has performed in dozens of playoff sequence in his profession. This one could also be his worst. He dedicated 5 turnovers in Game 3, the third straight recreation he has kicked away 5 or extra. He was outscored within the first half by Payton Pritchard. Brown tried eight extra pictures than him. After failing to make a shot within the second half of Game 2, Durant didn’t have an official try over the ultimate 11 minutes of Game 3.
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“I’m simply pondering an excessive amount of, to be trustworthy,” stated Durant. “This entire sequence … the primary two video games, I used to be making an attempt to be too aggressive. A crew is loading up on me, taking me out of all my actions, I felt like was making an attempt to power it. My strategy to this recreation was to play off of everyone. Get within the stream of the offense. Let the ball transfer and discover me … I felt that we had stream.”
Some of this is on Durant. He must be higher. But his coach isn’t serving to. “I don’t assume fatigue has set in,” stated Durant. OK. But Durant performed 46 minutes on Saturday. He performed 42 in Game 2 and 41 in Game 1. In the final six video games of the common season, Durant averaged 42. Boston is sending waves of bodily defenders at Durant, from Tatum to Jaylen Brown to Grant Williams. They are sapping Durant’s vitality. And Nash continues to go away him on the ground.
The greatest mismatch of this sequence is within the teaching field. Ime Udoka is dominating. This is Phil Jackson vs. John Calipari. Joe Torre vs. Grady Little. Bill Parcells vs. Rich Kotite. It’s change into embarrassing. Brooklyn’s offense is a gradual eating regimen of isolations. Movement is minimal. They set screens to create switches, however in these conditions Boston’s protection doesn’t miss a beat. Injuries to Ben Simmons and Joe Harris have crippled Brooklyn’s depth however 5 minutes of Cam Thomas within the second quarter can’t be worse than watching a visibly exhausted Durant fumble via the ultimate minutes.
Nash’s job safety wasn’t in query coming into this sequence. Now it could be a miracle if he survived it.
Boston will survive, will advance and the query turns into—who would you prefer to beat them? “We play either side of the ball aggressively,” Brown stated. “That’s what we like, that is what we take pleasure in.” Tatum broke out of a mini scoring droop to attain 39 factors in Game 3. Brown (23 factors) typically appears to be like like the following greatest participant on the ground. Marcus Smart continues to thrive as a playmaker and Williams’s physicality has made an impression. Robert Williams, the Celtics’ defensive anchor, made his return following a monthlong absence from knee surgical procedure and performed 16 pain-free minutes.
“Getting Rob again is enormous for our crew,” stated Tatum. “I is likely to be Rob’s greatest fan.”
The Nets tried to strike an optimistic tone after the sport. “It’s about our character now,” Nash stated. “About digging deep and having pleasure.” Ben Simmons is more likely to make his debut in Game 4 however … come on. No crew has come again from a 3–0 deficit and Brooklyn doesn’t appear to be it will likely be the primary. The Nets gave the impression to be the boogeyman coming into the postseason. The Celtics are one win away from slaying it.
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