The Celtics got the kind of dominating performances from their key players on both sides of the floor that the Nets urgently needed — but didn’t get — from Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
The Celtics pulled within one win of wiping the Nets with a 109-103 victory at Barclays Center on Saturday night. Jayson Tatum scored a game-high 39 points, while Jaylen Brown added 23. Tatum’s score was higher than Durant’s and Irving’s combined totals of 16 points each.
For much of the game, Tatum has defended Kevin Durant, with the Celtics’ top-ranked defense holding the Nets superstar to 31.7 percent shooting in the first two games in Boston and only 11 field-goal attempts (6-for-11) in Game 3. The Celtics, who have a chance to sweep the series in Game 4 on Monday, warmly welcomed Robert Williams III for the very first time since suffering a meniscus tear on March 27 and having surgery three days later.
The Celtics Dominated The Nets
The shot-blocking Boston big man only had two points in 16 minutes of playing time, but one of them came in the second quarter on a thunderous alley-oop slam on a feed from Tatum.
Ben Simmons has set Game 4 as his comeback date from a back injury — and his first game with the Nets since being acquired from the 76ers in February’s blockbuster James Harden deal. Williams’ return helped a Boston defense that finished the regular season as the best in the NBA. Williams, who averaged nearly a dual (10.0 points and 9.6 rebounds) in 29.6 minutes per game across 61 starts, ended fourth in the NBA with 2.2 blocked shots per game. Williams also turned down an Andre Drummond dunk attempt shortly after entering the game in the second quarter.