Jayson Tatum adapted an assist from Marcus Smart in the last second, with a buzzer-beater layup on Sunday afternoon, and gave the Celtics an intense 115-114 win over the visitors Brooklyn Nets in the first game of the Eastern Conference 1st-round of the playoff series.
The Nets were up 114-113, looking for the clinching basket when Kevin Durant failed on a 3-point attempt with 15 seconds remaining. The rebound was secured by Al Horford and as Jaylen Brown found Marcus Smart open wide to his left, the guard threw the key across to Jayson Tatum, who caught and shot the game-winner.
Jayson Tatum’s winner was too close and had to go through a review. For the Celtics, Brown came up with 23 points, Horford and Smart with 20 each for Boston. Horford contributed with 15 rebounds. Jayson Tatum remained the highest scorer for the Celtics with 31 points.
For the 7th seeded Nets, Kyrie Irving contributed with a game-high of 39 points that included a 3-pointer as 46 seconds remaining and gave the visitors a lead at 114-111. Kevin Durant contributed 23 for the Brooklyn Nets.
Coach Ime Udoka Praised The Team Effort That Enabled Jayson Tatum’s Winner
Tatum said that when Jayson Tatum took that dribble, they just made eye contact, and it was a great pass. He said that it did not get any better than that.
All the five Celtic players touched the ball during the possession. Coach Ime Udoka of the Celtics said that move was a microcosm for this season as the guys unselfishly moved the ball around.
Going back to the postseason last year, Jayson Tatum has four 30-points games straight. That matched Larry Bird’s 1987 streak, the longest in Celtics history.
Horford said that they stayed in the game, took their chances, and found a way to finish on top of the game. At the end of the day, it was just getting a victory, and it did not matter how it rolled.