The Brooklyn Nets eliminated the Boston Celtics from the NBA Playoffs with a 123-109 victory at Barclays Center in Game 5 of their first-round series. The Nets won the best-of-seven series 4-1 and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals to face the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Boston Celtics entered Tuesday’s game with their hopes of returning to the conference finals shattered by injuries to some of their top players. Nevertheless, the Celtics didn’t show any signs of being demoralized despite being down 3-1 before tipoff.
The halftime score of 59-51 with the Brooklyn Nets on top was indicative of how relatively close this game was prior to the last few minutes of the fourth quarter.
Time and time again, Harden would make a three or an and-one to keep the feisty Boston Celtics at bay. Early in the fourth quarter, an offensive foul call on the Brooklyn Nets guard was overturned and his basket was counted. The 3-point play extended their lead to 13. More importantly, the overturned call kept him from getting his fifth foul.
Carrying the load by himself without his All-Star buddies Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum looked banged up from the first half to the final buzzer. He had his foot and knee checked out on the sidelines by team doctors before halftime. The injuries were primarily responsible for him shooting just 4-of-13 in the first half and 12-of-27 overall.
The 23-year-old Boston Celtics star was not as active as he would normally be on both ends of the court, but the effort was there. Tatum still had 32 points to go along with nine rebounds and five assists.
Quietly doing his work off the bench, Nicolas Claxton’s activity gave the Brooklyn Nets a constant presence in the paint both offensively and defensively. Claxton was the recipient of a couple of assists by his teammates as he found a way to beat his man on several occasions.
Though the box score shows that he only had a block on his ledger, it doesn’t reflect how many Boston Celtics players had to change their shots upon seeing the Brooklyn Nets’ 6-foot-11 forward.