Celtics vs. Nets: Jason Tatum, All-World Defense has separated Boston as a team to win in the East

Celtics vs. Nets: Jason Tatum, All-World Defense has separated Boston as a team to win in the East

The Boston Celtics all except Brooklyn NetworksThe season on Saturday with a 109-103 victory in the third game of the first round series. No team in NBA history has recovered from a 3-0 deficit to win a series, and that is the predicament the Nets now find themselves in. This is over, and as of this moment, I’m not sure I saw a more impressive performance in the first round.

The Nets is a flawed team without a doubt. But this match is still difficult in the first round as seen by the two seeded at all. We’re talking about perfect health Kevin Durant And Keri IrvingAnd they can’t get an inch of space against this Celtics’ defense.

Durant was only able to muster 11 shots on Saturday and shoot 36 percent in the series with 17 turns. in isolation, Jason Tatum He chokes his space, and if Durant tries to land the ball, a second defender, if not two of them, collapses on him to deflect passes or force him to stop in his tracks, turn all around, and look for a rescue. Honestly, all Durant could do was get a clean pass at the start of possession in the first place.

The nets are done now, but maybe Steve Nash would have been smart if he let Durant get the ball into the court, or at least come into the DHO early, and start picking up when he obviously couldn’t get it to go in isolation for Game 3; At least that will eliminate the fight for the pass and he’ll have some sloping momentum to get to his jumper rather than just holding the wing or elbow with Tatum/Brown flexed all over it, at which point he has to attack from a standstill with the secondary defenders in waiting to pounce.

But listen, it’s not that simple. There are no easy answers against this Boston defense. Durant brought the ball up in the series and was harassed to death once he crossed half the field. I wouldn’t be surprised if Durant is more unwilling to dodge this pressure than Nash is to get him started. Rest assured, whatever the netts do, Boston will adapt. Either way, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say this is as crammed as Durant has ever been in a watershed series.

Meanwhile, Irving has been 0-for-7 of 3 on Saturday and is 10-for-30 overall over the past two games of the series. The Celtics decided not to let Durant beat them, but it’s not like anyone else, Irving or otherwise, is getting a wide open look because of this interest.

Boston defense hits trifecta: It’s filled with elite solo defenders at Tatum, Jaylyn Brown And Marcus Smart Who can, one-on-one, legitimately thwart perhaps the best lone scorer in history, have the flexibility and length to alter any and all actions, and have the discipline and desire to spin all over to cover shooters that should theoretically be left open as a result of all double teams.

Celtics Everywhere.

This Boston defense has been one of the main talking points in the league for a long time now, yet it’s still better than advertised. On top of that, Tatum takes another leap. You can talk about the attention Durant is getting, but it’s not like Tatum is being ignored but he put in 39 points on Saturday and averages 29.6 for the series.

The curling has forced Tatum to be a top scorer (he needed 29 shots on Saturday), but the point is he’s able to get those shots on his terms. That’s what we’ve come to expect from Durant, who isn’t supposed to be a guy who can be forced to become a bystander over the course of an entire game, let alone most series.

The takeaway: Tatum and Brown beat Durant and Irving 62-32 on Saturday. Of course, Boston’s defense is a different animal than the Brooklyn defense that Tatum and Brown face; It’s not apples on apples here.

But that’s the bottom line: The Celtics, individually and collectively, are a two-way problem, which is why I think we have to start calling them the favorites coming out of the East. I know the dollarsAnd the heat And the Sixers are going to have something to say about that, but this Boston team is something else now. With the return of Robert Williams, they are ready to defend Giannis Antikonmo to what score possible in a possible second round match, and khris middleton Very well he may not play in that series.

There is no weak point to be found in the Celtics at the moment. Sending in the nets is now a formality, and it’s clear that Boston are heading into bigger and brighter stages as these playoffs begin.

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