The clock ticked closer to zero and alongside the nets sideline destiny hall of famers with more than 200 playoff video games between them looked shook. This was a recreation brooklyn needed to win. Needed to win. Ought to have gained. A ten-factor halftime lead. Assist from the helping cast. A celtics defense that inside the first half of allowed the nets to shoot 61%. A team with kevin durant and kyrie irving might must kick the sport away to lose this one.
And it did. Badly. The nets shot 31% inside the 2d half of. Durant, in those final 24 mins, didn’t make a field goal. Irving, lustily booed for the second game in a row, completed four-of-13. Seven celtics finished in double-figures. Payton pritchard— payton pritchard!—scored 10 in sixteen minutes. Durant and irving rank many of the nba’s maximum feared fourth-quarter scorers. Boston throttled the nets 29–17 over the very last 12 minutes.
Boston 114, brooklyn 107.
The celtics take a 2–zero series lead.
And the nets are in a global of problem.
For weeks, brooklyn was the nba’s boogeyman. Two games against the celtics and the nets had been uncovered. Durant looks worn-out. He averaged 41 mins in keeping with sport inside the final 5 video games of the regular season. He logged forty two in the play-in game. Against boston, durant isn’t just matching up with properly defenders. He’s wrestling with them. He’s scored 50 points within the first two video games of this collection. He’s wished forty one shots to do it.
“they’re being bodily,” stated steve nash. “they’re up and into him, grabbing him, holding him, all that stuff you come back to count on. He’s been uncomfortable and hasn’t looked like he’s been capable of get his rhythm.”
Stated durant, “they’re gambling me with two, 3 men occasionally when I’m off the ball, mucking up moves while I run off stuff. I see [al] horford leaving his guy and are available over to hit me sometime. They’re simply gambling two or three guys, hitting me wherever I am going.”
Irving became incredible in game 1. In game 2, he turned into a no-show. He performed forty mins. He scored 10 factors. He exceeded out one assist. His maximum fine contribution turned into on the glass (eight rebounds). Irving faced the expected jeering from the nineteen,156 interior td lawn. In recreation 1, he fed off it. In recreation 2, he flopped.
Ime udoka spent one season as steve nash’s assistant. And in his first postseason as a head educate, he’s education him. Udoka, who designed the nba’s pinnacle ranked defense, is now wielding it like a two-with the aid of-4. The celtics are manhandling durant. They are squeezing irving. Bruce brown and goran dragic scored 30 factors in the first half of. Inside the 2d half, they scored eleven. Offensively, boston is engineering switches onto brooklyn’s smaller guards and bulldozing them.
Udoka spent years as an assistant below gregg popovich.
The celtics consider him like he’s pop.
“Ime knows us actual well,” irving said. “I assume he has some keys [to] the treasure chest that he’s telling those men.”
Nash’s changes have no longer been awful—they had been nonexistent. His offensive machine is as creative as a checkers board. Boston didn’t make any defensive modifications after recreation 1. But in game 2, there was durant, compelled into deep catches earlier than staring down a wall of defenders. He isn’t jogging off screens. He isn’t placing lots of them for irving. Nash has two of the most skilled gamers of this era and his recreation plan has been to correctly to tell them to do some thing with it.
It’s desperation time in brooklyn. Ben simmons may be coming back—nash denied an espn record that the nets are focused on sport 4 for simmons’s season debut—however he isn’t saving them. It’s easy to excuse an early playoff exit—accidents, mainly to joe harris, the james harden alternate, the absence of simmons, et al—but getting broomed out through boston would be a disaster. It would waste any other mvp caliber 12 months of durant and raise extra questions on whether or not he and irving are the exceptional healthy.
As he wrapped up his postgame press conference, irving become requested approximately the nets’ loss of chemistry. “our identity is what it is,” irving said. Later, he praised the cohesion that the celtics have performed with.
“the timing is proper,” said irving. “the window is now for those men.”