Jayson Tatum saved the day for the Boston Celtics. His driving layup as time expired gave the Celtics a 115-114 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday
You could say the Celtics were lucky to get Game 1. The Celtics scrambled on their final possession – and Marcus Smart delivered a pass to Tatum just in time.
On the final play, Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant got caught watching Marcus Smart, who took a pass from Jaylen Brown on the left wing. As Smart pumped-faked a 3-pointer and drove to the basket, Durant kept his eyes on Smart and lost track of Tatum, who cut to the rim and scored on the Smart assist.
“When he took that dribble we just kind of made eye contact. He made a great pass,” Tatum said after the game. “It doesn’t get any better than that. A buzzer-beater in a playoff game at home.”
Here are other key takeaways from Boston’s victory:
There’s a reason why the Brooklyn Nets are considered a dangerous No. 7 seed. They have Durant and Kyrie Irving. Even with Durant struggling in Game 1 against Boston, the Nets almost pulled off the upset thanks to Irving, who had 39 points, six assists, five rebounds, four steals and a block. And he did it front of a Boston crowd that despises him for leaving the Celtics.
Irving had 13 of his 18 fourth-quarter points in the first 6:30 of the quarter and his 3-pointer with 45.9 seconds left in the game gave Brooklyn a 114-111 lead. Despite everything with Irving and the vaccine, he is a treat to watch when he’s on his game.
The Nets trailed 84-69 midway through the third quarter and 12 game minutes later, they had a 102-98 lead. Nic Claxton had a solid game off the bench (13 points, eight rebounds), but he was just 1-for-5 on foul shots, including three misses in the fourth quarter.
Durant finished with 23 points but on a poor game from the field: 9-for-24. Don’t expect Durant to have many more games like that even if Tatum continues to play solid defense on Durant.
Without Celtics center Robert Williams (left knee injury), veteran big Al Horford came through with 20 points and 15 rebounds.
How did the Celtics pull this off? Tatum (31 points), Brown (23 points), Smart (20 points) and Horford delivered enough offensively – a combined 94 points.
No matter how many games this series goes, it will be a fun one. Let’s hope it goes seven.
- Read from: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/columnist/jeff-zillgitt/2022/04/17/jayson-tatum-buzzer-beater-celtics-nets-game-1/7352023001/