5 takeaways as Jaylen Brown, Celtics weather final Nets runner, finishes sweeping


Jayson Tatum failed, but the Celtics held on to the Nets’ last push.

Play 4 takeaways

Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics thumps while Nic Claxton of the Brooklyn Nets defends. Photo by Elsa / Getty Images

Here are takeaways as the Celtics managed a bizarre match 4 and swept the Nets with a 116-112 victory.

1. The Nets were a very dramatic team all season and certainly brought their own death to some degree. Kyrie Irving did not help anyone by refusing to be vaccinated – a decision that objectively hurt his team’s chemistry, no matter how you feel about his case. The lack of continuity hurt. The lack of any kind of wing depth at the defensive end hurt. Andre Drummond / Nic Claxton’s great man combination would not get the job done against a good playoff team with elite ball dealers and wing scorers.

But as we wrote yesterday: Celtics sweeping the Nets was more about what the Celtics can do than what the Nets can not. The Bucks and Sixers had no interest in meeting the Nets for a reason. The Celtics appreciated the 2-seed and were happy to pursue it for a reason. They have the NBA’s best defense, one of the league’s best duos, and a multifaceted offensive that can take many different forms. The Nets had two superstars – and therefore they came to the playoffs – but they also had a lot of dysfunction, a subordinate defense and a deficient bench unit.

This series was not about the Celtics’ superstars against the Nets superstars – not when Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard all played such integrated roles. In the end, the Celtics vs. Nets just your standing 2-seed that received a 7-seed.

2. The Nets, however, made the Celtics sweat on Monday, especially when Tatum got his fifth foul with 8:17 left, and when an inexplicable call got him out with 2:49 left.

The Celtics had a 109-103 lead at the time, which was trimmed to three when Irving buried a deep triple. On the next possession, Durant hit a jumper who cut the lead to one. If the Nets had pushed the game to overtime, the Celtics could have found themselves in some trouble.

Instead, Jaylen Brown completed a hard finger roll along the baseline and the Celtics defended hard down the stretch. Kevin Durant went 1-on-2 on the free-throw line on a key run and the Celtics escaped undefeated, pushing the lead to four with 13.7 left on Horford’s put-back layup. From there, they skated to the finish line.

3. The Celtics typically moved the ball well and relied on their role players to make threes. The role players delivered – especially Horford and Grant Williams, who were 7-to-11 from the deep. On an evening where Brown went 0-to-5, it was crucial to get contributions from shooters across the board.

4. Robert Williams still does not quite look like himself after two games back from his meniscus surgery. That, of course, is understandable – he came back early, and the procedure he underwent to trim the meniscus was the first surgery of his career.

Still, it is noteworthy that the opponents have not been quite so afraid of attacking him around the edge, and his teammates are not quite so willing to throw the lobs that made the Celtics’ offensive so dangerous, even when it collapsed around the edge.

They did, however, and.

Getting Williams back to full strength is the key to their title hopes.

5. The Celtics play against the winner of the Bulls and Bucks. Milwaukee leads the series 3-1 and can clinch on Wednesday. If they do, the Celtics could get a shot at them without Khris Middleton in a game or two after Middleton sprained his MCL.

We will have more takeaways later tonight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *