With a triple-double by star James Harden, the Brooklyn Nets beat the Boston Celtics 123-109 in the NBA on Tuesday and closed their first-round playoff series 4-1, cutting a ticket to the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Harden overflowed with 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists and was seconded by the other two from the ‘Big 3’: Kyrie Irving, with 25 points, and Kevin Durant, with 24. The stellar trio combined to score 83 of the 123 team points.
For the Boston team, their scoring star Jayson Tatum had an excellent game with 32 points, nine sacks and five assists. Despite that performance, Tatum fell short as he has games of 50, 40 and 40 points in this year’s play-in and playoff games.
Despite this, he is the first Celtics player with three 40-point games in a postseason since Larry Bird in 1984-85.
The Celtics lost in the first round of these playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Meanwhile, the victory secures the Brooklyn Nets for the first time their ticket to the Eastern Conference semifinals since 2014. This time they will face the Milwaukee Bucks, who swept the Miami Heat (4-0).
– Harden, Nets engine –
The game had a much calmer atmosphere at the Barclay Center, away from the electricity that accompanied Irving’s return to Boston Garden in the previous two games.
On the court, Harden was the engine of the Nets. Author of a triple-double that he guided on several occasions, he allowed his team to take off on the scoreboard, either by his shots behind the goal or by attacking the painted area.
Without giving the impression of force, Brooklyn gave a big push in the middle of the fourth quarter, with four consecutive three-point actions: a basket plus Harden’s free throw, followed by two long-range shots from the other two members of « Big3 ”, Durant and Irving, before Harden made another. All in two minutes to lead 106-91.
“We did a very good job. Today we were able to toughen up the game in the fourth quarter. We closed the defense and since we know how to do it at the back offensively, we have fun, “said Harden after the game.
Up front, the pace was too high for the Celtics, thanks to the injury absences of Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown, although Tatum, playing with pain in his right foot, scored 32 points.
Therefore, the logic in favor of the Nets was respected, who will have to assume a little more their status as favorites in the next round, starting on Saturday, against the Bucks of the Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. (GG) (AFP)