Jayson Tatum poured in 50 points and Marcus Smart added 23 as the Boston Celtics shocked the Brooklyn Nets 125-119 in Kyrie Irving’s return to TD Garden. Irving heard boos every time he touched the ball from the Boston faithful, and struggled from the floor shooting just 6-17. James Harden led the Nets with 41 points, while Kevin Durant scored 39.
The spread was Nets -7.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook, and the over of 227 came in as both teams seemingly found a new offensive gear as the game continued. Brooklyn is still the championship favorite and a big one to win the series, but the odds should shift slightly in Boston’s direction after this result.
The Nets opened the game on a 19-4 run, and it felt like the Celtics would simply go away, but Boston responded with several spurts to eventually hold a 33-32 lead after the first quarter. The Celtics extended their advantage by three points to hold a 61-57 edge at halftime.
Irving hit a jumper to give the Nets a 73-72 lead halfway through the third quarter, but Smart and Tatum spearheaded a 24-11 Boston run where the tandem either scored or assisted every point.
Harden continued to dazzle, sinking three triples to keep the Nets within striking distance in the final quarter. The Celtics continued to have answer for Brooklyn’s runs with Tatum continuing to pour in the points. Evan Fournier added a clutch triple late to open up a 114-105 Boston lead with four minutes left. He finished the game with 17 points. Tristan Thompson was another vital cog in Boston’s win, tallying 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Brooklyn still holds a 2-1 lead in the series, and Game 4 is Sunday at 7:00 PM ET. The Celtics are expected to have about 17,000 fans in attendance after new state guidelines went into effect in Massachusetts.