After missing so many bunnies in the fourth quarter, the last layup the Celtics would make on Easter Sunday would send Boston to Game 1 win over the Brooklyn Nets. If pictures are worth a thousand words, here’s a billion dollars worth of the game winner.
Let’s start with how it looked on TV.
JAYSON TATUM MAKES THE GAME WINNER CELTICS WIN! pic.twitter.com/3ZfDkiIbRT— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) April 17, 2022
The clip doesn’t completely encapsulate just how great of a final defensive possession the Celtics had to prevent the Nets from stretching the lead to 3 or 4. World Wide Wob has the full video here. After getting beat a few times in the final frame, Marcus Smart was able to keep Kyrie Irving contained and Al Horford sped him up with a double team.
And then it was Jayson Tatum’s turn, staying in front of Kevin Durant — not fouling — and forcing him into a tough three-point prayer.
The Celtics had a timeout to draw up a play (a skill that head coach Ime Udoka has excelled at this season), but opted to play in transition instead. “I told the guys all the time, ‘we have an advantageous position we’re in. I won’t call a timeout. If I don’t like what I see, I’ll call it then,’” Udoka said. “As you know, teams will get matched up with the lineups they want in the game. Jaylen (Brown) had (Goran) Dragic on him. I love what he did: drove, drew three people, and kicked it to Marcus. He drove, passed two, and we got a wide open shot.”
Video synced with the amazing call of @SeanGrandePBP and @cedricmaxwell81 for Tatum's buzzer beater. "Did someboday's grandma just make a sweet potato pie?"— eric kelly (@eric_kelly) April 17, 2022
Celtics beat Nets in game 1. pic.twitter.com/ocPNcn0oEB
Here’s the epic call from the radio voice of the Celtics, Sean Grande, and Finals MVP Cedric Maxwell:
It’s all just so perfect. The trust. The timing. The cut. The spin. The TD Garden roar.
“You gotta credit Ime for trusting us in that situation with one timeout to just go,” Smart said. “You gotta give credit to JB, pushing the pace, drawing four and then making the right read. And of course me. I’ve always been told that you have more time than you realize you have. When I caught the ball, I was going to shoot it and then I seen two guys fly at me so I pumped fake. Actually, I was going to throw it to Al off the dribble, but then I saw JT cut at the last minute. I just wanted to get the easiest shot we can and that was as close as we can get to the basket, so I found JT and he made a great play to get the ball up on the glass and finish it before the game was over.”
After the game, Tatum shared this touching moment with his mom.
Jayson Tatum and his mom shared a moment after his game winner pic.twitter.com/9TVY5zIhlb— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) April 17, 2022
He also got a big hug from team mom, Grant Williams:
Williams was later interviewed by Celtics.com’s Amanda Pflugrad and acted as the Celtics’ hype man heading into Game 3 on Wednesday:
BONUS: Everything just looks better in slow motion, right?