NEW YORK – Jayson Tatum had 39 points, Jaylen Brown had 23 and the Boston Celtics took a 3-0 lead over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night with a 109-103 win.
The Celtics again made it difficult for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving with their stifling defenses to put themselves in position to sweep their way into the second round with a win Monday night in Brooklyn.
A loud “Let’s Go Celtics! Let’s go to the Celtics!” Chants erupted in the last few minutes from the many fans in green who had taken their seats at the Barclays Center.
There wasn’t much to cheer for the home fans as the Nets face a team they just can’t get their feet on the ground.
Durant made just 11 shots and finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Irving was 6 for 17 and also had 16 points for the Nets, who must decide if they will make his debut in an elimination game for Ben Simmons on Monday.
Boston led most of the way before the Nets cut it to three with just over a minute remaining in the third quarter. But Marcus Smart hit on a follow-up shot, making a jumper in transition before Brown got a steal and dunk to put it in fourth place at 81-72.
Brown kept the Nets at bay from there, always finding a 1-on-1 matchup and driving to the basket. He set up Tatum for a 3-point shot in the corner after the Nets got back to four, then made a jump before Tatum converted a three-point play that made it 96-84 at 6:25 .
The Celtics recalled center Robert Williams after missing nearly a month with a cartilage tear in his left knee, making their defense even stronger.
Bruce Brown was the Nets player who could really solve it by posting a career playoff-high 26 points.
Durant was 13-41 (31.7%) with 12 turnovers in the two games in Boston, and the Nets’ only real hope was that he could regain his form at home.
He made a 3-ponter on his first shot attempt after going 0 for 10 in the second half of Game 2, but he could never consistently find room to shoot while committing five more turnovers.
The Celtics limited Durant to just two shots and led 30-25 after a quarter, then took seven points in a row from reserve guard Payton Pritchard to open the second and increase the lead to 37-25. Boston was still less than 1 1/2 minutes by eight at halftime, but the Nets scored seven goals in a row and it was 53-50 at the break.
Celtics: Smart scored 14 points. … Williams had two points and two rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench in his first game since March 27 after missing the last seven games of the regular season.
Nets: Patty Mills was honored ahead of the start for being voted the winner of the NBA’s Sportsmanship Award on Friday. … Blake Griffin played for the first time in the series and scored eight points. … Director Spike Lee, a longtime Knicks fan, was at the game wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers jersey and cap.
Coach Steve Nash said Simmons played 3-on-3 on Saturday morning and suffered no setbacks. He said it was possible for Simmons to play in Game 4 but warned that given his long layoff with his herniated disc at the end there was more to consider than Simmons feeling good after his practice session.
“There’s a much bigger picture, a bigger context to how he’s feeling, how able he would be to adapt to the environment,” Nash said. “It’s a bit different than playing a game that’s tucked away in the middle of the regular season, so I think there’s a couple of factors at play here to assess when he’s ready to play.”
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.
https://www.local10.com/sports/2022/04/24/tatum-brown-lead-celtics-to-109-103-win-3-0-lead-over-nets/ Tatum, Brown lead Celtics to 109-103 win, 3-0 lead over Nets