Nets' size difference causes concerns in Game 1 loss to Celtics 115-114
After defeating the Cavs in the first game of the NBA play-in last week, the Nets earned themselves a seventh seed spot. With earning the seventh seed spot, it meat that the Nets would have to play the Celtics, who were one of the favorites to go deep in the playoffs. This series was the talk of the town and had everyone anticipating Game 1.
Nerves from both teams showed early on in the first quarter. Brooklyn had four turnovers and two of their defensive players got themselves in foul trouble with two fouls in the first five minutes of the quarter. Seth Curry inserted himself in the game. He hit a couple of threes and had a couple of steals to give the nets a confidence booster, as they struggled to find their rhythm offensively. Despite seven turnovers, the Nets were only down by one at the end of the first, 29-28.
The refs were calling the game tight, so the Nets adapted in the second. Irving put pressure on Jayson Tatum and Daniel Theis. and forced them to foul him. At the eight minute mark, Theis and Tatum combined for five fouls and played a little tentative. The Nets big man Andre Drummond had to sit on the bench and cool himself off after getting his fourth foul. Irving stated hot late and helped his team go on a 8-2 run to tie the game up at 61 at the break. Irving finished the half with 15.
Things turned into a nightmare for the Nets at the start of the second half. There were more one on one plays instead of rotating the ball to find the open shooter, turning the ball over, and not being active around the rim. The Celtics smelled blood and opportunity, which helped them to go on 16-6 run to push their lead to double digits. Irving, Goran Dragic', and Durant got their team back into the game with some great shots late to cut the lead to a 96-85 game.
The Irving mixtape show started in the fourth quarter. He put defenders in the spin blender, as well as put his team on his back and scored eight straight points to cut the Celtics' lead to three at the 10 minute mark. This all happened while Durant was on the bench. The Nets retook the lead after Durant hit a three with 7:45 minutes left in regulation.
Each time it looked like Boston was going to retake the lead, Irving would hit a crucial shot which extended the Nets lead. The Celtics went on a 6-2 run to tie the game with under two minutes left. In a tie game with 50. seconds left, Irving hit a three pointer to give the Nets a three point lead. Two possessions later, Tatum hit a game winning lay-up to silence the Nets.
Irving finished with 39 and Durant had 23 to cap off the loss.