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Boston continues to baffle Brooklyn

by The Associated Press | April 24, 2022 at 3:26 a.m.
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) during a Celtics foul challenge during the second half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

NEW YORK -- The stoppers are suffocating the scorers.

And as Boston was finishing another shutdown effort against Kevin Durant and the Nets, a loud "Let's Go Celtics! Let's Go Celtics!" chant broke out from the many fans in green who had seats in Barclays Center.

There wasn't much for the home fans to cheer about as the Nets face a team that just won't let them get anything going.

"More of the same," Celtics Coach Ime Udoka said. "We're making it tough."

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

Again making things difficult on Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Celtics put themselves in position to sweep 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 their 13 steals.

"My message is, nobody plays harder than we do," Tatum said.

Durant took only 11 shots, finishing with 16 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. Irving was 6 for 17, missing all seven three-pointers, and also had 16 points for the Nets, who have to decide if they will 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 though it matches a No. 2 seed against a No. 7.

But it's been mostly all Celtics since Tatum's basket at the buzzer gave them a victory in Game 1. Durant and Irving combined for just one basket in the second half of Game 2, never had much impact in this one and might get only one more chance.

"We know what it is," Durant said. "I don't think no speech or anything will do at this part of the year. You know what it is. We're down 3-0. We got another game on Monday. Just come out and play."

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 scored on a follow shot, made a jumper in transition before Brown got a steal and dunk to make it 81-72 going to the fourth.

Brown kept the Nets at bay from there, repeatedly finding a 1-on-1 matchup and driving to the basket. He set up Tatum for a three-pointer in the corner after the Nets had gotten back within four, then made a jumper before Tatum converted a three-point play that made it 96-84 with 6:25 to play.

The Celtics got center Robert Williams back after missing nearly a month with torn cartilage in his left knee, making their defense even stronger.

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

Durant was only 13 for 41 (31.7%) in the two games in Boston with 12 turnovers, and the Nets' only real hope was if he could regain his form back home.

He made a three-pointer on his first shot attempt after going 0 for 10 in the second half in Game 2, but he could never consistently find room to shoot while committing five more turnovers and looking far off the player who came in third all-time in the playoffs with 29.4 points per game.

The Celtics limited Durant to just two shots and led 30-25 after one quarter, then got seven straight points by reserve guard Payton Pritchard to open the second and push the lead to 37-25. Boston was still ahead by eight with under 11/2 minutes left in the half, but the Nets scored seven straight and it was 53-50 at the break.

BOSTON (109)

Horford 1-2 0-0 3, Tatum 13-29 9-10 39, Theis 4-6 0-0 9, J.Brown 9-16 4-4 23, Smart 6-15 0-0 14, Williams 3-7 0-0 7, Williams III 1-1 0-0 2, Pritchard 4-5 0-0 10, White 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 42-84 13-14 109.

BROOKLYN (103)

B.Brown 10-19 4-6 26, Durant 6-11 2-2 16, Drummond 1-3 0-0 2, Curry 4-8 0-0 10, Irving 6-17 4-4 16, Griffin 2-4 2-2 8, Claxton 6-9 1-2 13, Dragic 0-1 0-0 0, Mills 4-5 0-0 12. Totals 39-77 13-16 103.

Boston..................30232828--109

Brooklyn................25252231--103

3-Point Goals--Boston 12-39 (Tatum 4-13, Pritchard 2-3, Smart 2-10, Horford 1-2, Theis 1-2, Williams 1-3, J.Brown 1-4, White 0-2), Brooklyn 12-29 (Mills 4-5, Durant 2-3, Griffin 2-3, Curry 2-4, B.Brown 2-7, Irving 0-7). Fouled Out--None. Rebounds--Boston 34 (Theis, White 6), Brooklyn 33 (B.Brown, Durant 8). Assists--Boston 26 (Smart, Tatum 6), Brooklyn 25 (Irving 9). Total Fouls--Boston 19, Brooklyn 22. Attendance--18,175 (17,732)

  photo  Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) shoots against Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams (12) during the second half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
 
 
  photo  Boston Celtics center Daniel Theis (27) dunks during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
 
 
  photo  Boston Celtics guard Derrick White (9) shoots against Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant, behind, during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
 
 
  photo  Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) sits on the baseline during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
 
 
  photo  Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) drives against Boston Celtics guard Payton Pritchard, right, during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
 
 
  photo  Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) reacts to a referee's call during the first half of Game 3 of the team's NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, Saturday, April 23, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
 
 

Print Headline: Boston continues to baffle Brooklyn

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