The Boston Celtics opened up their playoff campaign with a wild win in Game 1 over the Brooklyn Nets. Each team threw haymakers at each other but Boston was able to land the final blow with a buzzer-beating layup by Jayson Tatum.
There was much anticipation for this series and rightfully so. Both of these teams are capable of winning a title but one of them has to go home after round one.
The game started off with a high intensity from both teams with a lot of early foul calls. A combined 18 fouls in the first quarter alone made it tough for anyone to find a rhythm. This was especially true for superstar forward Kevin Durant.
The C’s did a great job to contest his mid-range jumpers and forcing him into turnovers, but he was still uncharacteristically off his game in the first half. Missed shots and turnovers were beginning to add up for Durant but Boston was unable to take advantage of this. They allowed the Nets to hang around and went into the halftime break knotted at 61 points.
Boston knew KD wouldn’t stay down for long so they came out firing to start the third quarter. They jumped out to a nine-point lead after just three minutes and Brooklyn had no answers. Durant started to knock down some shots but he was unable to keep up with Tatum who was red hot in the third quarter.
Just when Boston started to get comfortable with a 15-point lead, Brooklyn began to creep back in the game. They cut the Celtics lead all the way down to 6 points before the end of the third quarter but a Jaylen Brown layup and a tough Tatum three-pointer put them back up 11 going into the fourth.
The Celtics failed to control the game in the fourth quarter and former-Celtic, Kyrie Irving, went ballistic, also flipping off fans. He went on a personal 8-0 run to cut the lead down to just one and had the Celtics reeling on the defensive end. The C’s were able to slow the game down after that and surrendered the lead. Kyrie capped off the Brooklyn run with a huge three-pointer to put the Nets up 107-102.
It seemed like the Celtics were going to let this one slip away but they managed to fight back to even the score up at 111 with under a minute to play. Kyrie was on a mission to stick it to Boston fans and he knocked down a huge contested three-pointer to give his team a three-point lead with 45 seconds remaining. The Celtics didn’t panic and got an easy bucket right back before one of the wildest sequences all season.
Boston played phenomenal defense on Kyrie and Durant for their final possession and forced KD into an off-balance shot. The C’s got the rebound and elected to save their final timeout as they pushed for a winner. The ball found its way to Marcus Smart with four seconds left and he split two defenders and found Tatum cutting into the lane where knocked down the game-winning layup at the buzzer.
Irving had an all-time great fourth quarter and led all scorers with 39 points. Tatum led the way for Boston with 31 points of his own as well as eight assists. Al Horford turned back the clock and finished with a 20-point, 15-rebound game and played great defense down the stretch.
Game 2 will be played on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET.
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