NEW YORK – So now we know why the celts did not go out of the way to avoid the networks in the first round, he didn’t kick the season finale (hello, Milwaukee), he didn’t worry about the play-in results like a high school student does with the SAT. Brooklyn had star power, but no system. An explosive offense that, as a result, didn’t have a prayer against the stingiest defense in the NBA.
Boston took Game 3 of their first-round series against Brooklyn with a commanding 3-0 lead. The first room was closed. Jayson Tatum it got hot for the Celtics. Kyrie Irving Y bruce brown carried the nets. Both teams shot 50% from the ground. After a back-and-forth second quarter, Boston entered the locker room three up.
The Nets should have stayed there. Two minutes into the third, the Celtics increased the lead to 10. Brooklyn worked their way back several times. Brown, the Boston-born guard, scored a team-high 26. nic claxton He had 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench. But the Nets were holding on. Late in the third quarter, Steve Nash inserted Blake Griffin, who had not played a significant minute for more than a month. Griffin made a pair of 3-pointers and two free throws in his eight minutes. He, too, was relentlessly pursued on the defensive end and finished his stint at minus four.
“It’s disappointing,” Steve Nash said. “Obviously we didn’t play a good game.”
The Celtics are now one win away from advancing and this team looks poised to make a run. Boston’s defense is drowning. They forced 21 turnovers on Saturday, scoring 37 points from them. Irving finished with 16 points, missing all seven of his 3-pointers. Durant’s final stat line looks decent: 16 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, but for the third straight game, Durant looked pedestrian. Midway through the second quarter, he had three field goal attempts. He didn’t break double figures until well into the third. After attempting 20 free throws in Game 2, Durant didn’t make his first attempt until late in the quarter.
“Just a fucking game, man,” Durant said. “Shit game.”
What is the deal? Durant has played in dozens of playoff series in his career. This may be the worst. He committed five turnovers in Game 3, the third straight game in which he kicked five or more. He was outplayed in the first half by Payton Pritchard. Brown attempted eight more shots than he did. After missing a shot in the second half of Game 2, Durant did not have an official shot. He tried during the final 11 minutes of Game 3.
Scroll to Continue
“I’m just overthinking it, to be honest,” Durant said. “This whole series… the first two games, I was trying to be too aggressive. A team is charging at me, taking me out of all my actions, I felt like he was trying to force it. My approach to this game was to play with everyone. Get into the flow of the offense. Letting the ball move and find me… I felt like we had a good flow.”
Some of this is in Durant. It has to be better. But his coach isn’t helping. “I don’t think he started the fatigue,” Durant said. IT’S OKAY. But Durant played 46 minutes on Saturday. He played 42 in Game 2 and 41 in Game 1. In the last six games of the regular season, Durant has averaged 42. Boston is sending waves of physical defenders to Durant, from Tatum to jaylen brown for grant williams. They’re sapping Durant’s energy. And Nash keeps putting him down.
The biggest mismatch in this series is in the coaching cadre. Ime Udoka is dominating. This is Phil Jackson versus John Calipari. Joe Torre versus Grady Little. Bill Parcells vs. Rich Kotite. It has become embarrassing. Brooklyn’s offense is a steady diet of isolates. Movement is minimal. They put up screens to create changes, but in those situations Boston’s defense doesn’t miss a beat. injuries to Ben Simmons Y joseph harris they’ve crippled Brooklyn’s depth, but five minutes of Cam Thomas in the second quarter couldn’t be worse than watching a visibly exhausted Durant turn the ball over in the final minutes.
Nash’s job security was not in question going into this series. Now it would be a miracle if he survived.
Boston will survive, they will advance and the question is: who would you favor to beat them? “We played aggressively on both sides of the ball,” Brown said. “That’s what we like, that’s what we pride ourselves on.” Tatum came off a mini-scoring slump to score 39 points in Game 3. Brown (23 points) often looks like the next best player on the floor. smart marcus he continues to thrive as a playmaker and Williams’ physicality has made an impact. Robert Williamsthe Celtics’ defensive anchor, returned after a month-long absence due to knee surgery and played 16 pain-free minutes.
“Getting Rob back is huge for our team,” Tatum said. “He might be Rob’s biggest fan.”
The Nets tried to strike an upbeat tone after the game. “It’s about our character now,” Nash said. “On digging deep and having pride.” Ben Simmons is likely to make his Game 4 debut but … come on. Neither team has come back from a 3-0 deficit and it doesn’t look like Brooklyn is the first. The Nets seemed to be the boogeyman entering the postseason. The Celtics are one win away from doing it.
More NBA coverage: