It was a rowdy one tonight in Boston; fouls, and lots of them, chants against former Celtic, Kyrie Irving, and close scores. However, through it all, Jayson Tatum set his career-high in the playoffs with 50 points and the Celtics secured game three, 125-119.
The Jayson Tatum Boston needed was back tonight, putting up 13 in the first quarter. Marcus Smart also stepped up and scored 11, including a three to put them on top as the clock wound down to its final seconds. Despite trailing a swift 19-4 within minutes, the Celtics showed they can battle back and finished the quarter with a shy one-point lead to go into the second quarter 33-32.
Boston continued to hold the lead in the 61-57 second quarter with Tatum putting the team on his back. He had 21 points at the half, while Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving was at two, his lowest in the playoffs. A strong start for JT and a slow one for Irving showed you can’t count anyone out when it comes to chasing a championship.
The other members of the Big Three, Harding and Durant, provided the Nets with highlights in the first half, but not enough to overcome Boston. Along with Tatum and Smart, Tristan Thompson put on a show with 12 points and eight rebounds to help the C’s get ahead.
The third quarter was another tight one, but Boston was able to extend their lead to 12 in a 96-84 score coming back from the half. Tatum tallied 19 to finish the quarter at 40, his career-high in the playoffs. He was backed by solid offense from Smart, Thompson, and Fournier.
While Tatum went for a personal record and the Celtics were giving him the support he deserved, the same can’t be said for Durant, Harden, and their squad. They became the second pair of teammates to score more than 30 points in the same game, but Brooklyn couldn’t outscore Boston.
The final quarter was enough to have both sides pacing. A short lead by the C’s to finish the game was enough to top KD’s 41 points and Durant’s 39. Irving finished with 16 and the rest of the lineup was all below ten.
Celtic’s All-Star Jayson Tatum finished with 50, Smart with 23, Thompson with 19, and Fournier with 17. Their offense helped Boston get their first win in round one of this year’s playoffs.
Boston looks to develop a winning streak and tie the series this Sunday evening with another game at the TD Garden.