JAYSON Tatum scored 39 points as the Boston Celtics led most of the way and beat the Brooklyn Nets 109-103 on Saturday night in New York to open a commanding three-games-to-none lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.
Tatum made 13 of 29 shots for his second 30-plus-point game of the series, putting the second-seeded Celtics on the verge of sweeping the seventh-seeded Nets in Game 4 on Monday. Tatum, who scored 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the fourth quarter, also finished with six assists and six of Boston’s 13 steals.
Jaylen Brown added 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting as the Celtics led for the final 39:58. Marcus Smart added 14 points as the Celtics shot 50% for the game and heard loud “Let’s Go Celtics” chants in the final minutes.
Bruce Brown led the Nets with 26 points, but superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were held to a combined 32 points as the Nets shot 50.6% but also allowed 37 points off 21 turnovers.
Durant and Irving each scored 16 points. Irving made only 6 of 17 shots from the field and missed all seven of his 3-point tries.
Brooklyn remained within striking distance early in the fourth before Boston began pulling away. The Nets got the lead down to 88-84 on a 3-pointer by Blake Griffin with 7:42 remaining. — Reuters