After the Nets went down to 15, and Kyrie Irving carried the weight of the entire franchise with a scintillating performance against his old team, Celtics star Jason Tatum defeated Buzzer with a layup in the final possession of the fourth quarter. . To register a 115-114 win over the Nets in Game 1.
“He pushed it instead of calling the timeout,” head coach Steve Nash said postgame. “I think we took the first action with (Jaylen Brown) and Marcus Smart. I thought we were wise in that action, but they came through a crack (in our defence), and somehow they found Tatum , which made a wise cut. Split-seconds here or there and I guess it goes the other way.”
The Celtics are now leading 1-0 in the first round series. After the Nets looked like they were in a position to steal Game 1 before coming late in the fourth.
Irving scored 39 points on 20 of 12 shooting from the field and carried the load, while Kevin Durant turned his season into one of his worst performances since returning from a derailed sprained MCL. Durant shot just 1-of-5 for 9 of 24 points from the field and 23 from downtown. The Nets, a team largely built on StarPower, even after the James Harden deal, missed out on the exceptional performance of their superstar forward.
But the Nets still had a chance after blowing up the opening minutes of the third quarter and allowing the Celtics to take control of the game.
Good teams pay you for unforced errors, and great teams put you in debt, where the Nets found themselves after a flurry of turnovers and seized offensive rebounds that gave the Celtics the momentum to start the second half. .
What the Nets proved is that there isn’t a gap big enough for them to make up for—not when Irving’s jump shot is clicking, and not when the roleplayers move on. Goran Dragic made 14 and Nick Claxton added 13 points, eight rebounds and three blocks off the bench.
But the basketball gods wouldn’t have it any other way. Not when the Nets cheated the game by being undisciplined and unfocused to start the second half.
Not in Boston, where Irving once told fans he wanted to re-sign for a longer period before signing a four-year deal with the Nets.
Not in Boston, the hometown of Nets guard Bruce Brown, whose comments about Robert Williams, Al Horford and Daniel Theis were provoked in the pre-game when their words were displayed on the Jumbotron 20 minutes before tipoff.
Brown said, not without reason, that Williams — a Defensive Player of the Year candidate who is undergoing treatment for a knee injury — would allow the Nets to attack Horford and Theis, based on age and lack of athleticism. But there are two less guards. Horford responded by saying, “My stuff gets on the court,” then ending Game 1 with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Brown scored five points in 37 minutes.
Four players scored 20 or more in the Celtics, led by Tatum, who scored 31 in a 9-of-18 shooting from the ground. All four of those players were in motion in the final possession, when Tatum cut the basket on an out-of-whack possession to hit the winning lap in Game 1.
This series is not over yet. In fact, from the look of things, it might just go into Game 7. Game 1 of this series did not disappoint, and it could be the best takeaway for a Nets team that finds itself down 0-1 in the first round.
Durant played poorly and the Nets got nothing from Brown, Seth Curry, Patty Mills and Kessler Edwards. Yet they were in a position to win it on the buzzer. And they still have a chance to bounce back and swipe Game 2 before the series moves to Brooklyn.