Nets fall into 3-0 gap after loss to Celtics

Nets fall into 3-0 gap after loss to Celtics

The loss of life knell might have sounded on the Nets’ disappointing season — killed by Kevin Durant’s shocking struggles and their porous protection.

The Nets misplaced Game 3 to the Celtics, 109-103, Saturday evening earlier than a upset crowd at Barclays Center and now path within the collection, three video games to none. The preseason title favorites are actually one loss away from elimination and staring proper down the barrel of an embarrassing first-round exit.

“S–t every game is a must win from here on out,” Andre Drummond mentioned beforehand. “We lost a tough one in Game 1 by a buzzer beater. In Game 2, we gave up a 17-point lead. So, we have the tools to win the game. We know what they’re capable of, we know what they’re going to throw at us, and it’s now just putting it forth into the rest of the series.”

No staff in NBA historical past has ever come again from a 3-0 deficit. And nothing the Nets have proven by means of the primary three video games has engendered confidence they are often the primary.

Bruce Brown scored a team-high 26 factors, however Durant and Kyrie Irving (16 factors) got here up brief for the Nets.

Daniel Thies dunks over Kevin Durant during the Nets' 109-103 Game 3 loss to the Celtics.
Daniel Thies dunks over Kevin Durant throughout the Nets’ 109-103 Game 3 loss to the Celtics.
Corey Sipkin

Durant, who has been held in verify by Boston’s top-ranked protection, mustered simply 16 factors Saturday. For the primary time in his profession, he had been held beneath 40 % taking pictures with six turnovers. Nets coach Steve Nash had him off the ball and dribbling much less in Game 3, used extra as a screener.

He was nonetheless rendered all however invisible — just like the Nets’ probabilities. He shot 6-for-11 (higher than the mixed 13-for-41 within the first two video games) and had eight rebounds and eight assists, however nonetheless turned the ball over 5 instances.

“I think [Saturday was] not a must-win, but every game is a must-win in the playoffs so I don’t necessarily subscribe to that,” Nash mentioned earlier than the sport. “You don’t go in and say Game 1 is not a must-win. You’re trying to win every single game. So our mentality shouldn’t change; we’re trying to win every game.”

They might solely have another, with Game 4 on Monday being an elimination sport.

Kyrie Irving, who scored 16 points, drives past Daniel Theis during the Nets' loss.
Kyrie Irving, who scored 16 factors, drives previous Daniel Theis throughout the Nets’ loss.
Corey Sipkin

Jayson Tatum poured in a game-high 39 factors for Boston and was serenaded by chants of “MVP! MVP!” from green-and-white clad Celtics followers in Brooklyn. Jaylen Brown added 23 factors.

Nash tried a bunch of tweaks and changes, determined to vary the collection momentum. Thee Nets liberally sprinkled in some zone early, and even dusted off Blake Griffin late.

Wit the Nets trailing 75-69 with 1:27 left within the third, Nash gave Griffin his first minutes since April 2. He scored eight factors and gave the Nets a spark, however not almost sufficient.

A star-studded crowd that included Spike Lee, Mary J. Blige, Trevor Noah, Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge and Questlove might have watched the Nets’ final gasp.

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant
Corey Sipkin

The Nets really led 12-5 early, because of seven fast factors by Brown. But it didn’t final. They coughed up an 18-5 run — together with seven unanswered Boston factors — and couldn’t ever mount a single severe risk to even pull even after that.

After going forward 20-19 with 4:26 left within the first on Durant’s brief fadeaway, the Nets surrendered a 7-0 spurt. Boston guard Derrick White’s layup left them down by six.

The deficit reached 12 when Payton Pritchard drilled a step-back 3-pointer, making it 37-25. The clock learn 9:05 left within the first half, however the contest — and maybe the Nets’ season — was over.

The Nets did get inside 51-50 on Patty Mills’ kick-out 3-pointer simply earlier than the half, however no nearer.

It was 53-50 on the break after the Nets closed on an 11-5 run. But three fast turnovers in succession — two by Brown and one other by Seth Curry — sparked a 7-0 run.

When Tatum discovered Daniel Theis for a 3-pointer, the Nets trailed 60-50 with 10:35 left within the third. They by no means challenged in earnest the remainder of the way in which.

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