Nets still couldn’t measure up to Celtics in playoffs rematch

Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Brooklyn Nets

This was a game circled on the Brooklyn Nets‘ calendar.

For sporadic moments, the Nets played like they could beat the Boston Celtics. But in the end, they still couldn’t measure up to the reigning Eastern Conference champions.

The Celtics picked up from where they left off to snap the Nets’ four-game winning streak, 103-92, Sunday night at Barclays Center in their first meeting since they swept them in the first round of the playoffs.

Jaylen Brown (34 points, 10 rebounds) and Jayson Tatum (29 points, 11 rebounds) churned out double-double performances, outplaying the Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving duo anew.

Brown got the ball rolling for the Celtics with 20 points in the first quarter. Tatum finished what Brown has started with a dozen points in the fourth quarter.

Durant led the Nets with 31 points but committed eight turnovers, and four came in the fourth quarter that stymied their comeback effort.

Irving was held to 18 points on 7 of 21 shooting night.

“I mean, [the Celtics] are a good team, and when you’re making costly mistakes, especially down the stretch, it’s going to affect you. It’s going to have an impact on the game, the flow.”

Kyrie Irving postgame via

The Nets might have played better with Ben Simmons and Yuta Watanabe, who were out nursing injuries. But the Celtics also missed two key starters in Marcus Smart and Robert Williams III.

“[The Celtics] are a big team. They shoot the ball well, they’ve got good length. So you’ve got to match that if you want to be able to compete.”

Kevin Durant postgame via

Despite the size difference, the Nets were still able to close the gap in the rebounding department, 48-45, but the length and shooting of the Brown-Tatum combo were just too much to overcome.

Brown hit 10 of 20 shots and went 5 for 9 from downtown. Tatum made 10 of 19 shots and was 3 for 6 from deep. Boston made 15 of 38 3s overall, while Brooklyn could only hit 9 of 26.

The Nets had their moments, like their hot 11-2 start and an 8-0 run to begin the third quarter. But the younger and more athletic Celtics team outlasted them.

The Celtics’ depth was on display with their bench outscoring their Nets counterpart, 24-15.

TJ Warren, who had a scintillating return from nearly two years of absence, couldn’t lift the Nets bench with only four points on 1 of 4 shooting. Seth Curry failed to score in 14 minutes off the bench. Cam Thomas led Brooklyn’s second unit with eight points but only shot 1 of 5 from the field.

On Wednesday, the Nets will try to rebound from this loss against the Charlotte Hornets, coached by their last season’s assistant Steve Clifford.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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