Celtics take 3-0 lead over Nets – Lowell Sun

By Brian Mahoney

AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK — Stoppers smother scorers.

And as Boston completed another closing effort against Kevin Durant and the Nets, a loud “Let’s Go Celtics!” Let’s go Celtics! chanting broke out from the many fans in green who had seats at the Barclays Center.

Home fans had little to cheer about as the Nets faced a team that simply wouldn’t let them do anything.

“More of the same,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “We make it difficult.”

Jayson Tatum scored 39 points, Jaylen Brown had 23 and Boston took a 3-0 lead over Brooklyn with a 109-103 win Saturday night.

Again making things difficult on Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Celtics put themselves in position to fight their way into the second round with a victory Monday night in Brooklyn.

The Celtics forced 21 turnovers that led to 37 points. Tatum had six of his 13 interceptions.

“My message is that nobody plays harder than us,” Tatum said.

Durant took just 11 shots, finishing with 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. Irving had 6 of 17 points, missing all seven 3-pointers, and also had 16 points for the Nets, who must decide whether to give Ben Simmons his debut Monday in an elimination game.

Boston’s defense against the Nets’ firepower was supposed to make this a can’t-miss series, even if it matches a No. 2 seed against a No. 7.

But mostly it’s been every Celtics since Tatum’s buzzer field goal gave them a Game 1 win. Durant and Irving combined for just one field goal in the second half of Game 2, never had much of a shot. impact in this one and might only have one more chance. .

“We know what it is,” Durant said. “I don’t think any speeches or anything will do at this part of the year. You know what it is. We are down 3-0. We have another game on Monday. Go out and play.

Boston led most of the way before the Nets cut it to three with just over a minute left in the third quarter. But Marcus Smart scored on a follow-up shot, jumped in transition before Brown got a steal and a dunk to make it 81-72 in the fourth.

Brown kept the Nets at bay from there, repeatedly finding a 1-on-1 game and heading for the basket. He set up Tatum for a 3-pointer in the corner after the Nets recovered in the four, then made a jump before Tatum converted a three-point play that made it 96-84 with 6:25 left. player.

The Celtics picked up center Robert Williams after missing nearly a month with a torn cartilage in his left knee, strengthening their defense.

Bruce Brown was the Nets player who could really solve it, scoring a playoff career-high 26 points.

“We are not forceful in our actions. We question ourselves a bit. Throwing a lot of passes that are doubts. They’re too good a team for us to do that,” Nets coach Steve Nash said.

Durant was just 13 of 41 (31.7%) in the two games in Boston with 12 turnovers, and the Nets’ only real hope was to regain his form at home.

He made a 3-deck on his first shot attempt after going 0 for 10 in the second half in Game 2, but he still couldn’t find room to shoot while committing five more turnovers and looking away from the player who came in third. time in the playoffs with 29.4 points per game.

“He had a hard time getting started,” Jaylen Brown said. “We want it to continue because we know what he can do.”

The Celtics held Durant to just two shots and led 30-25 after one quarter, then got seven straight points through reserve guard Payton Pritchard to open the second and push the lead to 37-25. Boston was still ahead by eight with less than a minute and a half left in the half, but the Nets went seven straight and it was 53-50 at the break.

TIPS

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 final seven games of the regular season.

Nets: Patty Mills was honored before the start for being voted the winner of the NBA Sportsmanship Award on Friday. … Blake Griffin played for the first time in the series, scoring eight points. … Director Spike Lee, a longtime Knicks fan, was at the game wearing a Brooklyn Dodgers jersey and hat.

SIMMONS STATUS

Nash said Simmons went 3-for-3 on Saturday morning and had no losses. He said it was possible Simmons could play in Game 4, but warned that given his long layoff, with his herniated disc at the end, there was more to consider than whether Simmons was feeling good afterwards. his workouts.

“There’s a lot of bigger picture, bigger context about how he’s feeling, about his ability to adapt to the environment,” Nash said. “It’s a bit different to play a game that’s hidden in the middle of the regular season, so I think there are a few factors at play here to gauge when he’s ready to play.”

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