The Celtics’ Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, as well as the Nets’ Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, didn’t have their finest offensive performances.
Brown and Tatum, on the other hand, had just enough sparkle and support from their teammates to win 114-107 in another gritty, high-intensity game that seemed more like a conference finals clash than a 2-7 first-round series.
Brown overcame his offensive problems in the third quarter, scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter as the Celtics regained charge, outscoring the Nets 29-17. Boston didn’t take the lead until 7:49 of the fourth quarter, after trailing by 17 in the first half.
Tatum scored 19 points, 10 assists, and six rebounds to go along with Brown’s 22 points.
The Celtics are up 2-0 in the series, with Game 3 set for Saturday in Brooklyn (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).
Durant is once again restricted by the Celtics.
Durant scored 27 points, but 18 of them came from free throws. After going 9-for-24 in Game 1, he was only 4-for-17 from the field in Game 2. The Celtics’ game strategy is well-known. “We have to do our share and continue to be aggressive and physical defensively,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said.
In Game 2, the Celtics employed a variety of defenders on Durant, ranging from Marcus Smart to Al Horford. The Celtics were so rough on certain possessions that Durant bounced about like a pinball, and Celtics defenders poked at the basketball every time Durant caught it.
In the second half, Durant went 0-for-10 from the floor, and four of his six turnovers led to nine Celtics points.
The Celtics have made a strategic move. Allow for the scoring of Bruce Brown (23 points), Seth Curry (16 points), and Goran Dragic (18 points). Simply said, don’t allow Durant to score 30 points or more with great efficiency.
Others contributed to the Celtics’ victory.
Tatum and Brown shot a combined 14-for-32 from the field with seven turnovers, and Brown needs to turn on his offence in the fourth quarter if he wants to shoot 50 percent for the game.
While Tatum and Brown were unable to score in the opening three quarters, others stepped forward to fill the void. Horford finished with 16 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block to help the Celtics make up for the loss of Robert Williams, who is recovering from knee surgery.
Daniel Theis scored 15 points, Grant Williams added 17 points and six rebounds off the bench, and Payton Pritchard scored eight of his ten points in the fourth quarter.
Irving takes a pause to eat and drink.
Irving is fasting (no food or water) from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan. Irving went to the locker room with 3:09 left in the first quarter for food and water, including fruit.
Irving, who had a great game one performance with 39 points, only scored 10 points in Game 2 on 4-for-13 shooting.
Fans of the Celtics vs. Irving
Irving was fined $50,000 by the NBA for making obscene gestures and using foul words at supporters during Game 1.
Boston has a history with Irving, who previously played for the Celtics and stated that he will re-sign with them in 2019. Instead, he chose to join with the Nets as a free agent.
Irving appeared to avoid inappropriate gestures and swearing. Celtics supporters, on the other hand, booed Irving and chanted “(Expletive) Kyrie” inappropriately.
Brooklyn’s offence comes to a halt.
Brooklyn has offence because to Irving and Durant. Will the Nets be able to score enough against the league’s best defence? They can’t seem to get enough points. The Nets scored 65 points in the first half of Game 2 after scoring 114 in Game 1. In the first half, Brooklyn went 24-for-40 (60 percent) from the floor, including 50 percent on 3-pointers.
However, after the hot shooting stopped, Brooklyn’s offence began to crumble. In the first half, player and ball movement were both excellent. In the second half, Irving vanished, and the team struggled.
The Nets shot 30.5 percent in the second half, were scoreless for five minutes in the fourth quarter, and only scored six points in the first eight minutes of the fourth.
Boston’s defence is a big part of that. Part of it is due to Brooklyn’s ineffective offensive. When your two stars (Durant and Irving) go a combined 1-for-17 in the second half, it’s impossible to win.
Will Ben Simmons make his season-opening appearance?
Ben Simmons, who was acquired by the Nets from the Philadelphia 76ers at the trade deadline, is working his way back into basketball shape and recovering from a sore back.
Is he on the verge of playing? Coach Steve Nash stated he worked out Wednesday morning, and ESPN claimed that Simmons might make his debut in Game 4.
That was not confirmed by Nash.
“I don’t think we’re going after any particular game,” he remarked. “We’re attempting to figure out how he grows and evolves. That’s something about the recent history of the trade; it hasn’t been easy. While seeing him on the floor and seeing him improve is great, I don’t believe any of us are thinking, “It’s imminent.” We’ll sit back and cheer him on, seeing how far he progresses and, if he’s able to participate, that’ll be fantastic. We haven’t written anything down or come to any conclusions.”