That’s called starting a series in style! Celtics and Nets fought a real first battle, intense until the end and that ended with a very unlikely shot by Jayson Tatum. The latter thus responded to the impressive blow of heat from Kyrie Irving in the fourth quarter.
Aside from the heckling reserved for the Nets’ leader by his still-sentient former crowd, this game started with… a lot of fouls. Three minutes into the game, the Nets, soon joined by their rivals, had already reached the milestone of five team fouls, synonymous with a penalty. Symbol of a fast and intense physical match. Kevin Durant and the Nets could attest to that by seeing the toughness of the Celtics’ defense from the opening minutes of halftime. This festival of whistles and passes at the free throw line, however, allowed the two teams to get closer to thirty points scored after twelve minutes (29-28).
Much less choppy, the second quarter was marked by the awakening of Kyrie Irving behind the triple line. This responded to the circular attacks of Jayson Tatum, busy trimming the small five proposed by Steve Nash. The Celtics winger shone until then for his quality of fixation and passing from which Al Horford benefited a lot. At halftime, the two men had 29 points between them. While Kevin Durant was well defended (2/10), he needed good offensive passes from Goran Dragic to see the Nets level the score at halftime (61-61).
After 17 lead changes, the Celtics began to take control of the game seriously in the third act. Due to his defensive intensity and, less expected, his long-distance direction, Marcus Smart was one of the explanations for the first important gap of the game (72-63). Reduced to individual feats, neither Kyrie Irving nor Kevin Durant really managed to respond to this moment in the game. Jayson Tatum took the opportunity to “dance” with Nicolas Claxton to offer his team an 11-point lead at three quarters (96-85).
Despite the promotion taken by his former team, Kyrie Irving also invited himself to the long-distance party. The former Celtics player warmed up to sign a solo 8-0, before chaining strong penetrations. With their leader and a more intense defense, the Nets took the lead (102-107). Jaylen Brown and the others woke up sleeping locals to collect the score. Despite another winning shot from Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown found a way to respond before his friend got everyone to agree when the buzzer rang. What game !
WHAT TO REMEMBER
– crazy last minute ! Kyrie Irving’s game-winning shot with 45 seconds remaining (111-114) was a dagger for the Nets. But no, because Jaylen Brown easily outplayed his namesake Bruce to get into the circle. The Celtics then followed up with a great defense, with Kyrie Irving unable to create space despite a series of dribbles, forced to drop the leather to Kevin Durant late in the possession. After his “blocked” shot, Ime Udoka decided not to take advantage of his last timeout. The Nets were pinned down by 3-point threat Marcus Smart, who found Jayson Tatum cutting the circle that ended with a spin move and then a layup as the buzzer sounded.
– Celtics Rebounding Dominance. Author of a good first half but conceding four fouls, Andre Drummond was hardly used in the second half. His replacement Nic Claxton tried to impose his size, but it wasn’t enough in a rebounding fight easily won by the hosts with 14 offensive rebounds in particular. 14 is also the rebounding differential in favor of Al Horford and his teammates. That gives the Celtics 11 more shot attempts.
✅ Kyrie Irving. We suspected that he itched to silence his former audience, to which he also gave the finger of honor. And it didn’t fail. In the fourth quarter, he caught fire recording 18 points with a variety of ball moves. Also active in defense, he signed a complete game and with few wastes. Without this decisive shot from Jayson Tatum, he obviously would have been the man of the game.
✅ Jayson Tatum. Let the game come to you: the winger has perfectly illustrated this great principle. He started his match selfless with good distribution streaks. Then he took things into his own hands on offense in the second and then the third quarter. In the final period, the winger was completely lost before scoring this unlikely layup.
✅ Marcus Smart and Al Horford. Shadow soldiers in the light! The two men once again set the standard in defense and also made the difference in attack on the night. The first chained the winning baskets in the third quarter while the second hurt the Nets’ racket with his power under the circle and his ability to penalize from distance.
⛔ Kevin Durant. 23 points on 24 shots… Very poor ratio for the Nets superstar who struggled all afternoon to allow himself good shots against Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown or Grant Williams. The first two cities have countered it, with a shot near the circle or with a “bridge”. “Striped” more than once as he started to dribble, he blew good chances in transition in the fourth quarter, where he erased himself against Kyrie Irving.
18. Or the number of fouls called, cumulatively, on the two teams during the first quarter. A record in this area this season for a first quarter. Period in which each protagonist generally tries not to accumulate the whistles to avoid unpleasant surprises too early in the match.
KYRIE IRVING AND BOSTON STILL COLD
He booed the entire game, relapsed during the return to the locker room at halftime where he responded with a “Fuck you”, author of a finger of honor after a difficult shot and then other gestures to make fun of the fans who cried… Kyrie Irving hoped the Boston crowd would have moved on, but it just wasn’t, and it’s not going to get any better.
game 2 : in Boston, Wednesday, April 20 (01:00, from Wednesday night to Thursday in France)