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Celtics-Nets halftime hot takes Game 4

A barrage of points from the Nets in the second quarter has the Celtics staring at a 13-point halftime deficit, 73-60.

NBA: Playoffs-Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Jayson Tatum picked up right where he left off

Less than 48 hours removed from a 50-point performance in Game 3, Tatum had every excuse to showcase rust in the early going. However, the former Duke star did nothing of the sort, spearheading a solid start for his team in Game 4 with 14 first-quarter points, which led all Celtics. Tatum saw three of his eight field goals find the bottom of the net, including one of three three-pointers. But it was his ability to earn trips to the charity stripe in the opening quarter that stood out most.

Tatum was on the attack throughout the first 12 minutes, getting downhill and into the teeth of the defense time and time again. This, in turn, saw him take a whopping seven free throws by the end of one and swish all of them. Consistently getting to the free-throw line is the next step in Tatum’s development as he aspires to win future MVPs and titles. His aggressiveness in driving to the cup is an encouraging sight. Here’s to hoping it is a harbinger of what’s to come for the talented youngster.

2021 NBA Playoffs - Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Sizzling second-quarter shooting for Brooklyn

There have and will continue to be stretches in this series where the Nets seemingly cannot miss. Nearly the entire second quarter was one of those instances. Brooklyn as a team combined to nail 15 of their 19 shots, all while Boston’s offense lacked cohesion and movement. James Harden was the catalyst behind the remarkable stretch for the Nets, as he killed Boston via the dribble-drive all quarter long. Not only that, but Harden shined defensively as well, highlighted by two instances where he stymied Grant Williams and Tristan Thompson down low.

The first half was a tale of two periods. Boston held a one-point edge entering quarter two yet trailed by double digits at halftime. Brooklyn nearly doubled the C’s scoring output in the quarter, 40-26. It was an unideal end to the first two stanzas for the home team, who now stare at a sizable deficit, 73-60.