Kevin Durant recorded 32 points and 12 rebounds to help the Brooklyn Nets notch a 104-93 victory over the visiting Boston Celtics in the opening game of the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series on Saturday night, May 22 (Sunday, May 23, Manila time).
Kyrie Irving scored 29 points and James Harden added 21 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, and 4 steals for the second-seeded Nets. The contest was just the ninth in which Durant, Harden, and Irving played together.
Jayson Tatum scored 22 points for seventh-seeded Boston but he was just 6-of-20 from the field.
Marcus Smart scored 17 points and Kemba Walker added 15 for the Celtics.
Robert Williams III contributed 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 blocked shots, with the rejections falling just one shy of the NBA postseason record.
Game 2 is Tuesday on the Nets’ home floor.
Joe Harris added 10 points for Brooklyn, which shot 41.7% from the field, including 8-of-34 from three-point range.
Evan Fournier had 10 points for the Celtics, who made 36.9% of their shots and hit 11-of-30 from behind the arc.
Boston was within 82-79 after two free throws by Jabari Parker with 7:27 left before the Nets responded with nine straight points.
Irving scored five in a row and Durant followed with a fastbreak dunk to make it a 10-point margin with 5:48 left. Irving capped the burst with two free throws to make it 91-79 with 5:08 remaining.
A tip-in by Irving boosted the score to 94-81 with 3:37 left and the Nets led by as many as 17 en route to closing it out.
Brooklyn trailed 53-47 at halftime but came out storming in the third quarter with seven straight points and 18 of the first 22.
Harden’s three-pointer ended the 7-0 run with 10:13 left to give Brooklyn its first lead since 2-0.
Tristan Thompson and Walker scored back-to-back baskets as Boston went back ahead at 57-54 before the Nets ripped off 11 straight, capped by Harden’s three-pointer to give Brooklyn a 65-57 advantage with 7:16 remaining.
Durant’s basket gave the Nets a 76-67 lead with 2:02 left before they settled for a 78-73 edge entering the final stanza. – Rappler.com