The Celtics Erased A 17-Point Deficit To Take A 2-0 Series Lead On The Nets

Game 1 of the Nets-Celtics first round series was an instant classic, with Jayson Tatum stealing one for the home team on a spinning layup at the buzzer, leaving fans fired up for what Game 2 would bring. It delivered in a different way, with some more late drama, but less two teams going blow for blow and more them trading big runs, with Boston getting the best of the battle to take a 2-0 series lead.

After coming so close in the opener, the expectation was for the Nets to come out with an early punch, and they did just that quickly running up a 9-0 lead thanks to the unlikeliest of sources in Bruce Brown.

Brooklyn would maintain an advantage in that range throughout most of the first half thanks to some stellar play from their “others,” while the Celtics defense continued to pester and frustrate Kevin Durant and made a more concerted effort to do the same with Kyrie Irving. Brown, Seth Curry, and Goran Dragic all gave the Nets big lifts in the first half, as they led by as many as 17 and took a 65-55 advantage into the break, with Dragic scoring 16 in the opening half to lead all scorers.

However, in the third quarter the Celtics started to chip away as they continued to send waves of bodies at Durant, who really struggled on the night with ball security, turning it over six times leading to some transition buckets for Boston to close the gap and eventually tie the game.

Brooklyn would briefly stem the tide, with Bruce Brown again providing some big buckets, and pushed their advantage back to as many as seven, before Jaylen Brown pulled Boston to within five going to the final period.

In that fourth quarter, the Celtics simply dominated, as Brown woke up in a big way and Ime Udoka made a key adjustment to get some additional shooting into the game by rolling with Payton Pritchard for some key minutes and he rewarded him by scoring 10 points off the bench in the second half, including hitting the shot that gave Boston its first lead of the night.

At that point, Brown and Tatum took over, as the Celtics could smell the blood in the water and went on an extended 18-8 run to give themselves a 110-100 lead with just over a minute to play.

It was an unbelievable performance from Boston in a game where the leading stars on both sides struggled for much of the game, but while Durant and Irving weren’t able to turn it on from a scoring perspective, Brown and Tatum found their stride at just the right time down the stretch. Brown led the Celtics in scoring with 22 points, but all five starters reached double figures, as did Grant Williams (17 points) and Pritchard (10 points) off the bench to pick up Tatum on a night he shot just 5-of-16 from the floor — but did dish out 10 assists.

On the other side, Durant had 27 points to lead all scorers, but most of his damage came from the free throw line as he shot just 4-of-17 from the field, along with those six costly turnovers. Irving, after a virtuoso performance in Game 1, was nowhere to be seen in Game 2, scoring 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting with eight assists. What may prove most costly is the Nets wasted an incredible offensive night from Brown, who finished with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting, as well as 34 combined from Dragic and Curry.

For a team with depth concerns, faltering on a night where the others step up is a real concern for the Nets, as the series shifts to Brooklyn and they face a must-win Game 3 to avoid falling in a 3-0 deficit.

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