New York — Jason Tatum scored 29 points, Jaylyn Brown He had 22 and completed a four-game sweep of the Boston Celtics over the Brooklyn Nets, becoming the first team to reach the second round of the playoffs with a 116-112 win on Monday night.
Marcus Smart He added 20 points and 11 assists for the No. 2 seed Celtics, who did an easy job for what he thought was a tough streak. Boston will wait for the winner of the series between Milwaukee and Chicago. The defending champions lead the bucks 3-1 in that series.
Kevin Durant He had 39 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, and was released after the Celtics defended him well in the first three games. But he couldn’t get the win the Nets needed to extend what happened instead as a massive failure for one season.
Expected to be a contender in the NBA Finals, the Nets needed a strong finish just to snatch the No. 7 seed.
Seth Carrey He scored 23 points for the Nets. Keri Irvingwhose lack of home games for most of the season because he hasn’t been vaccinated against the coronavirus has contributed to the Nets’ performance so far below expectations, with a 20-point lead.
The Celtics were under .500 midway through their season, but they went 31-10 from there, with Tatum emerging as the scoring star on one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.
This defense limited Durant to just 19-52 shooting with 17 turns in his first three games and made it difficult for him to finally have more shots on Monday. He’s only been 13 of 31 from the field, and 3 for 11 behind the arc.
He lost in the first round for the first time since 2010 with Oklahoma City, the first playoff series of his career. He has won nine consecutive first-round series.
Tatum had 12 points in the third quarter and the Celtics opened a 90-75 lead in the final seconds of the period. But he went to the bench with a fifth foul with 8:17 remaining and the Nets made a push that put them within three points after about three minutes.
Tatum juggled the Celtics with a six-goal lead with a 2:48 play rate. Irving made 3 pointers and Durant scored to cut it to 109-108 with 1:28 remaining. But after a basket from Brown, Durant could only make one free throw and the Celtics rushed to the ground, with Alhorford Smart re-missed to make it 113-109 with 13 seconds left.
The nets were hoping they had Ben Simmons He debuted for them in Game 4, but was left out on Sunday with more pain in his back that troubled him not long ago after arriving in a mid-season deal with Philadelphia.
Tatum didn’t have a basket in the first quarter, but he started fast in the second quarter with two 3-pointers and another three. Durant kept the nets close and they were down 45-44 after Curry found the corner for a 3 pointer with 3:29 to play. But Grant Williams He made three three-pointers from then through to the break, the latter giving Boston a 58-50 lead.
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