The Boston Celtics picked up a pivotal Game 3 win over the Brooklyn Nets, 109-103. Jayson Tatum led the C’s to the win and was the best player on both ends of the floor all night long, while Rob Williams finally made his return to the court.
Both teams came in to this game knowing full well the implications behind it. Teams that fall behind 3-0 in a series have never come back to win and are a combined 0-143. This basically means it was a must-win game for Brooklyn and they acted like it early.
The Nets jumped out to an early 12-5 lead. Kevin Durant knocked down his first three of the game and he seemed poised to turn things around. Everything was in place for the Nets to make this series ineresting but Tatum had other plans.
He responded with an 8-0 run of his own and picked up Durant on every defensive possession. From then on, the rest of the half was intense. Both sides were knocking down tough shots and the role players were taking center stage. The Celtics were able to take a 53-50 lead into the halftime break.
Boston really began to separate itself in the third quarter. They built a quick 10-point lead and although the Nets battled back a few times, the C’s held firm and rode Tatum’s 13 third quarter points to an 81-72 score going into the fourth.
The C’s were ready to blow the game open but a surprise performance from Blake Griffin kept the Nets close. The rest of the Nets players couldn’t match his effort or capitalize on the opportunity and as a result, they fell behind by as many as 15 points with three minutes remaining.
This lead proved to be insurmountable as a flurry of three-pointers for Brooklyn in the final minutes came too little too late and they came up just short. The Celtics now have a commanding 3-0 lead.
Tatum was head and shoulders the best player on the floor all night. He scored a game-high 39 points and smothered Durant on defense. He limited Durant to just 16 points on 11 shot attempts and only committed one shooting foul. Tatum also came up with a playoff career-best six steals.
The Boston defense as a whole was on point and made life as difficult as possible for the Brooklyn stars. They’re beginning to show serious signs of fatigue which is a mix of their heavy load and how the C’s are throwing bodies at them every time down the floor.
The Celtics will stick to their game plan as they look to finish off the sweep and close out this first round series. Game 4 will be played on Monday at 7:00 p.m. ET on TNT.
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