With stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets beat the Boston Celtics 141-126 on Sunday and made it 3-1 in this first-round series of the NBA playoffs.
The team coached by Steve Nash will have the first opportunity to finalize this Eastern Conference tie on Tuesday in front of their audience at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn (New York).
The Celtics, who avoided the sweep Friday with a heroic Jayson Tatum (50 points), could only stand up in the first quarter because the Nets ‘Big 3’ was later a steamroller.
Irving, again booed by his old fans, had 39 points and 11 rebounds, Durant 42 points and James Harden another 23 points and 18 assists.
Between the three they took care of 104 of the 141 points of the Nets, who already see a more complicated confrontation in the second round against the Milwaukee Bucks of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Against them, Tatum shone again with 40 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists but he was too alone in attack without his partner Jaylen Brown, injured for all the playoffs.
Pushed by the 17,000 fans who filled the TD Garden in Boston for the first time this year, the Celtics got off to a strong start in an attempt to compensate with intensity for the unusual talent accumulated by the Nets.
With 9 early points from Tatum, Boston took small leads in the first quarter but, unlike on Friday, Kyrie Irving was fully into the game this time.
The point guard, who warmed up his return to the TD Garden with remarks about racism in Boston, responded to the whistles with a recital of handling the ball and baskets of all kinds.
In the second quarter, the Nets tightened the defense on Tatum, preventing him from scoring in that quarter, and put the direct up to go into the break with a 73-60 advantage.
With no intention of playing more games than necessary, the Nets stars maintained their intensity and 1 minute to the end of the third quarter they combined for 84 points, one more than the entire Boston team had, which fell 107-83 .
The Celtics came to reduce the distance to 14 points in the fourth quarter but Nash kept his figures on the court to secure the victory. (GG) (AFP)