Nets vs. Celtics score, takeaways: Jayson Tatum leads Boston to series sweep of Brooklyn in 116-112 victory

The Boston Celtics have won their place in the Eastern Conference semifinals after their 116-112 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Game 4 of their best of seven series. Jayson Tatum was fantastic for Boston, finishing the win with 29 points, five assists and three rebounds to lead the way for the Celtics. In the end, Tatum’s effort combined with the rest of the Celtics’ contributions was enough to hold Kevin Durant’s monster game for the Nets as he finished with 39 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in the loss.

Boston now goes on to face the winner of the series between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Chicago Bulls, which the Bucks currently lead by a 3-1 margin. There will be plenty of questions that the Nets face this offseason, and it seems safe to say that they will have to deal with these issues much faster than anyone had expected.

Here are three great takeaways from Game 4.

1. A historically close sweep

Let’s take a look at the margins of victory in each of the four games within this sweep:

Game 1: Celtics with 1

Game 2: Celtics with 7

Game 3: Celtics with 6

Game 4: Celtics with 4

That’s 18 points in four games. Nic Claxton missed 18 free throws in the series. So small was the distance between these teams. A little more luck from the line, a few jumps to Brooklyn, and in another world, the Nets could be the team sweeping the Celtics right now.

None of this is meant to undermine the Celtics. If anything, it might be even more impressive to sweep this specific Nets team in four close matches than to do so in four blowouts. The whole benefit of having Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving is that your team must always be able to create a good shot at half-time. They’re one of the best shot-making duos in NBA history, and with crunch-time so dependent on half-court shot-making, it’s insanely impressive to hit them in the clutch four times.

But before you fire up your jokes that the Nets are being swept off, just keep in mind how close this series really was. The final margin of 18 points makes it the third-closest four-game sweep in NBA history, according to ESPN statistics and info. Only the 2017 Cavaliers (over Pacers) and 1975 Warriors (over Bullets) were closer, and both had only a margin of 16 points.

There is a chance, albeit a small one, for Boston to win the championship without ever playing a series that is so close to the points difference. It’s not certain they iron out every round and they may not even reach the finals. But what they did against a Nets team that was far better than it had any right to take into account its injuries was one of the more impressive feats we will see this post-season. The Celtics are heading for something special and the Nets may be back in a year.

Too little, for Blake

Andre Drummond played about 60 minutes in this series. Brooklyn lost those minutes by 25 points. They won the rest of the series by seven. Nic Claxton turned in a dismal performance, however. He was otherwise fantastic, but the missed free throws were the difference in the game. As such, the only big man to prove reliable at both ends tonight was Blake Griffin.

The Nets hardly used the Griffin all season. He did not make his league debut before Game 3. He played 18 minutes in Game 4, and the Nets won those minutes by 10 points. He was also predictably gassed at the end of the fourth quarter and needed to take a breather in the final minutes. This is what happens when someone outside your rotation becomes a key piece in the middle of a playoff series.

It’s hard not to wonder if Griffin could have swung a game or two if he had been introduced to the series earlier, or even if the Nets should have worked harder to reintegrate him into the rotation in the regular season if they sensed that he might have been. necessary in the playoffs. Griffin really struggled most of the season. Brooklyn relied on making open 3s last year and he’s shooting just 26.2 percent behind the arc this season. He is not the same physically.

But when you rely on a center rotation made up entirely of players who earn minimum money, it’s probably crucial to get the most out of each of them. The Nets found Griffin too late, and they paid the price for it in this series.

3. With or without Tatum

In the big picture, it does not change the size of their victory if Boston survives the last 2:38 without Jayson Tatum. With or without him, they had to advance to the second round. But there are always a few invisible moments on the road to a championship that make a team believe it can win a championship.

The Bucks needed to win two games without Giannis Antetokounmpo a year ago. The 2000 Lakers famously won Game 4 of the 2000 Finals after Shaquille O’Neal knocked out because Kobe Bryant took over. It’s not always an absence, but when teams win championships, it’s rarely easy or clean. There are moments of doubt, moments where it seems like the car can slip off the road. Seeing a 15-point lead crumble in the hands of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving could have been one of those moments.

But Boston fought back for the victory and made it as a team. Tatum will be fine. He wants to do his thing. But winning a championship requires everyone to do their part, and Boston’s role players just gained a huge dose of confidence as they try to do theirs.

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