NEW YORK – Jayson Tatum scored 29 points, Jaylen Brown had 22 and the Boston Celtics completed a four-game sweep against the Brooklyn Nets, becoming the first team to reach the second round of the playoffs with a 116-112 victory Monday night.
Marcus Smart added 20 points and 11 assists for the Celtics, second seed, who facilitated the work of what was thought to be a difficult series. Boston will wait for the winner of the series between Milwaukee and Chicago. Defending champion Bucks maintains a 3-1 lead in that series.
Kevin Durant had 39 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, after the Celtics had defended him well in the first three games. But he failed to get the Nets the victory they needed to prolong what is instead considered a massive one-season failure.
If he was expected to be a contender for the NBA Finals, the Nets needed a strong end just to take the No. 7 seed.
Seth Curry scored 23 points for the Nets. Kyrie Irving, whose unavailability for home games much of the season because he is not vaccinated against coronavirus has helped the Nets perform well below expectations, had 20 points.
The Celtics were below .500 in the middle of their season, but they were 31-10 from there, with Tatum emerging as the scoring star of one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.
That defense limited Durant to just 19 of 52 shots with 17 turnovers during the first three games and made it difficult, though he finally got more shots on Monday. He was just 13 of 31 from the field, 3 of 11 behind the arc.
He lost in the first round for the first time since 2010 to Oklahoma City, the first playoff series of his career. He had won nine straight sets in the first round.
Tatum had 12 points in the third quarter and the Celtics opened up a 90-75 lead in the final seconds of the period. But he went to the bench with a fifth foul with 8:17 left for the end and the Nets gave a push that got them to three points about three minutes later.
Tatum fouled the Celtics by six with 2:48 to play. Irving made a triple and Durant scored to cut it to 109-108 with 1:28 remaining. But after a Brown basket, Durant could only take a free kick and the Celtics rushed to the ground, with Al Horford overcoming Smart’s failure to put 113-109 with 13 seconds left.
The Nets had hoped Ben Simmons would make his debut with them in Game 4, but he was ruled out on Sunday with more back pain than he had been worried about shortly after arriving in a mid-season exchange with Philadelphia.
Tatum had no basket in the first quarter, but started fast in the second with two triples and another jumper. Durant kept the Nets close and only fell 45-44 after he found Curry in the corner for a triple with 3:29 to play. But Grant Williams made three triples since then until the end of the half, bringing the final to Boston by 58-50.
Celtics: Boston swept its first-round series for the third time in four years. The Celtics beat Indiana in four games in 2019 and Philadelphia in 2020 at the Walt Disney World. They lost 4-1 in the first round to the Nets last season. … Williams scored 14 points and Horford had 13.
Nets: Bruce Brown scored just two points after 26 and 23 in the previous two games, the first time he had 20 consecutive points in his career. … Nic Claxton scored 13 points. He was 6 of 6 from the field but 1 of 11 on the free kick line, failing his first 10 before making the last when the Celtics committed an intentional foul.
SITUATION OF SIMMONS
Coach Steve Nash said he did not want to talk about Simmons, but acknowledged that there was a mental side beyond the physical problems he faces. Simmons cited mental health issues as a reason why he tried to leave Philadelphia and did not fit in with the 76ers this season.
“I think Ben addressed that there’s a mental component to what he’s going through, but what and where he’s with it is not for me to talk about,” Nash said. “But as for the organization, we’re really pushing to support Ben in any way we can to help him improve physically and get back on track, and then the mental side of that is an integral part. They’re not separated, they’re not something we don’t want to deal with. “We want to help if you need help in any aspect of your life and your game.”
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The Celtics complete the 4-game sweep against the Nets with a 116-112 victory
Source link The Celtics complete the 4-game sweep against the Nets with a 116-112 victory