The Brooklyn Nets take a commanding 2-0 series lead over the Boston Celtics, following their comfortable 130-108 win at Barclays Center.
Their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving combined for 61 points, but it was their role players in Joe Harris, Blake Griffin and Landry Shamet who made the difference as their depth proved too much in a game they led by as many as 33 points.
Here's the key takeaways at the buzzer
1. Nets trio in sync
The Nets received meaningful contributions from all over tonight, with their Big 3 combining for 61 points, 19 rebounds, and 18 assists.
Durant finished with 26 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and four blocks, while Harden added 20 points and seven assists, and Irving 15 points and six assists.
With the Nets generating plenty of open looks their All-Stars didn't have to shoulder the scoring load as they whipped passes around the perimeter and created scoring opportunities for their teammates, recording 31 assists on 46 made field goals.
That 30 assist mark is the magic number for the Nets, who reached that number 27 times during the regular season, winning 24 of those games. Teamwork makes the dream work.
Going small starting Griffin at center, Durant picked it up on the defensive end, recording four blocks on the night.
🚫 KD is up to 4 blocks on TNT! 🚫#NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/8Vz7GotdzV- NBA (@NBA) May 26, 2021
With the Nets taking a commanding 109-82 lead, heading into the final frame, Durant and Irving sat the entire fourth quarter.
2. Joe Harris' green light
As if trying to contain Harden, Durant, and Irving wasn't enough, the Celtics had their hands full with shooting guard Joe Harris, who kick-started the win with some red-hot shooting to start the game, including a personal 11-0 run in the first quarter.
Harris poured in 16 first-quarter points on a perfect 4-of-4 from beyond the arc, tying the franchise record for most threes in a playoff quarter and tying the highest-scoring quarter in his career.
Joe Harris can't miss 😳- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 25, 2021
16 PTS and 4-4 from three pic.twitter.com/W9KM5V0cgG
Harris tied Deron Williams' (2015) playoff franchise record with seven 3-pointers in the game, finishing with 25 points. Surrounded by three superstars, Harris is going to get plenty of open looks in the postseason, with his 3-point shooting giving the Nets yet another weapon.
"Just feeling the game," Harris said of what led to his scoring outburst.
"Obviously K [Kevin Durant], Kyrie [Irving], James [Harden] facilitating, I'm out there just to help create space, they're finding me, guys are running them off the line, extra passes to me and I had a lot of room and rhythm looks early."
3. Blake Griffin's still got it
The mid-season addition of Blake Griffin was always going to show its value in the playoffs and the veteran forward brought the house down at Barclays Center.
In the space of a minute, Griffin had the Nets bench on their feet twice as he threw down a pair of left-hand jams, providing plenty of energy with the second unit.
BLAKE LEFTY SLAM AND-1 ✅- NBA (@NBA) May 26, 2021
BLAKE LEFTY SLAM AND-1 ✅
So nice he did it twice on TNT 😱 #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/QoY51qkkqL
Griffin recorded 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, adding four rebounds and three assists.
4. A tough night for Tatum
Jayson Tatum, who was battling through a groin issue from Game 1, endured a tough night in Game 2, exiting the contest in the third quarter after getting poked in the eye as he got tangled up with Kevin Durant on a rebound.
Jayson Tatum has returned from the locker room and is on the bench after taking a shot to the face 👏 pic.twitter.com/TaMHdycW0V- Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) May 26, 2021
The 23-year-old finished with just nine points on 3-of-12 shooting from the field and 1-of-3 from deep in 21 minutes as the Nets defence closed down space and forced him into tough shot after tough shot.
5. Crossover Kemba
One of the few highlights for the Celtics came in the first quarter as Kemba Walker took it back to the playground with this nifty dribble move, blowing by Blake Griffin to get the easy layup.
Kemba sure gets to the cup quickly.#NBAPlayoffs on TNT pic.twitter.com/6GnE9zVBYW- NBA (@NBA) May 25, 2021
Walker finished with 17 points and seven assists, while Marcus Smart led them in scoring with 19 points and six assists on the night. With Tatum struggling, the Celtics will need more offence from their starting backcourt as they look to find a way back into the series.
6. Nets contain Robert Williams
Following his huge Game 1 performance (11 points, nine rebounds, nine blocks), the Nets tried to limit Robert Williams' impact on the game going small and luring him out onto the perimeter..and it worked.
He finished with just one block to go with eight points and six rebounds, but he still found a way to impact the game with his hustle, crashing the glass and creating second-chance opportunities.
Rob is always there when you need him 🔨 pic.twitter.com/r4VoIaiseF- Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 25, 2021
7. What's next?
The series now shifts to Boston for Games 3 and 4, as the Celtics look to get back into the series. Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday, May 29 at TD Garden at 6:00 a.m. IST
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