The Celtics Are On The Verge Of Sweeping The Nets Thanks To Jayson Tatum’s Huge Game 3 Performance

The Brooklyn Nets are on the brink of elimination in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Brooklyn entered Saturday evening looking for its first win in its 2-7 series with the Boston Celtics, and despite things shifting to the Barclays Center for the first time, Jayson Tatum’s latest monster performance on both ends of the floor put Boston one win away from the second round. By the time the clock hit zero, Boston picked up a 109-103 victory.

The story of the game was the play of Tatum, who is in the midst of a stellar series. Beyond his defense on Kevin Durant, who struggled mightily on Saturday, Tatum filled it up, leading all scorers with 39 points.

It was not just his scoring, though, that made him such a menace. Tatum recorded six steals, six assists, and five rebounds, showing off his full arsenal and capping off the win by taking the ball away from Kyrie Irving.

As is oftentimes the case when the Celtics pick up a win, Jaylen Brown likewise had a big game, going for 23 points, five assists, four rebounds, and two steals. Boston also got 14 points and six assists from Marcus Smart, while Payton Pritchard came off the bench and gave them 10 points.

For the Nets, Bruce Brown showed up in a big way, as the team’s peskiest defender provided a team-high 26 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. The 26 points mark a playoff career-high for Brown.

The big issue for Brooklyn, though, was the play of the 1-2 punch of Durant and Irving. Both players scored 16 points, and did so on a combined 12-for-28 from the field. Both players did a good job setting up their teammates — Irving had nine assists and Durant had eight, while the latter also pulled in eight rebounds — but both of them (particularly Durant) look like they’re really struggling with the workload they’ve been asked to shoulder in recent weeks and the length and physicality of Boston’s defense. While much has been made of Ben Simmons potentially making his debut in Game 4, it is hardly a stretch to say that unless both guys figure some things out very, very quickly, Boston is going to punch its ticket to the conference semifinals sooner rather than later.

Beyond them, the Nets got 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench from Nic Claxton, 12 points out of Patty Mills, and 10 from Seth Curry. Turnovers, in particular, plagued Brooklyn, as Boston was able to turn 21 of them into 37 points.

Game 4 between the Nets and the Celtics will take place on Monday night at 7 p.m. ET on TNT.