The Brooklyn Nets defeated the Boston Celtics without much difficulty in a blowout loss for Boston 130-108. Joe Harris erupted for 25 points with 7 three-pointers, and of course, Brooklyn’s Big Three did plenty of damage. Kevin Durant dropped a game-high 26 points and 8 rebounds. For the Celtics, Kemba Walker (17 points and 7 assists) got to the line early, and Evan Fournier (16 points) played better than his Game 1 performance. Marcus Smart (team-high 19 points with 6 assists) took over in the third quarter, but none of it was close to enough to beat Brooklyn.
For the Celtics, it was reported that Jayson Tatum (9 points) is fighting through a groin issue after injuring it in Game 1. This was extremely evident this game as he looked out of sorts right from the touch foul that was called on him from the beginning of the game. He had a miserable first half. The Nets were able to be physical with Tatum while that wasn’t always the case on the opposite end of the floor thanks to the zebras.
Boston’s defense didn’t do itself any favors in addition to the difficulty they had avoiding foul calls. Joe Harris helped himself to many transition three-pointers, and each one of them felt back-breaking. He went 6/8 in the first half from deep for a playoff career-high 22 points . . . in the first half. In the second quarter, James Harden (20 points, 7 assists) flipped his switch and decided to dominate after a scoreless first quarter.
Marcus Smart didn’t have the shooting game that he did in Game 1, but at the very least he shared the ball. He had 5 first-half assists; the rest of the team had 2 in the same time frame. Rob Williams was a bright spot. This play illustrates the story of the game after a tough hit on Fournier went without a call and Williams cleaned it up:
Rob is always there when you need him pic.twitter.com/r4VoIaiseF— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 25, 2021
Tristan Thompson put together 16 points and 11 rebounds, but Boston has to figure out a different defensive strategy because the Nets hunt him in mismatches, leaving him isolated against fellow Kardashian ex, James Harden far too often. That’s barbecue chicken for Harden, and it marred what was otherwise a very solid performance for Thompson.
The second half was even worse. After a missed call, Jayson Tatum got poked in the eye scrambling for a loose ball and left the game immediately to head to the locker room. After getting it down to 21, Brooklyn blew the doors open even further. I don’t really have much to say about it. It was ugly no matter which angle you look at it. The only positive from tonight is that writing this recap was easy because the game was decided by the second quarter.
Oh, that stretch where Smart hit four three-pointers in one minute and four seconds near the end of the third quarter was pretty cool.
Boston has a few health concerns going into Friday night’s Game 3 staring at a potential 0-3 hole. Tatum’s groin and now his eye in addition to Robert Williams’ pain tolerance with his ongoing turf toe problem. In addition to health concerns, Boston needs to find some sort of rhythm. Maybe the zebras will give them a bit more freedom at home to disrupt Brooklyn’s rhythm.
Game 3 is at 8:30 PM EST on Friday evening. If you’re going to be at the TD Garden, please make your presence felt. If the Celtics won’t energize themselves, it’s up to you to do it for them.