By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Here is the list of things that went right for the Boston Celtics in Game 2 against the Nets:
[An abyss of nothing]
The Celtics got absolutely rolled by Brooklyn to the tune of 130-108, falling into a 2-0 series hole as the series now shifts to Boston. They look like a team ready to get swept out of the playoffs, bringing a dreadful season to an unceremonious end.
On Tuesday night, the Nets’ superstar trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving look pretty darn ready to take on the rest of the NBA after their exhibition series against the Celtics. And they weren’t even that great on Tuesday night, because they didn’t really have to be.
Brooklyn’s Big 3 scored just 61 of the team’s 130 points (Durant led the way with 26, Harden had 21 and Irving had 15). Joe Harris was knocking down just about everything he took, finishing with 25 points on 9-for-14 shooting. Despite the fact that he kept hitting three after three after three, the Celtics still managed to leave the sharpshooter wide open. He made seven of his 10 triples on the night.
Even Blake Griffin, who looked like a shell of his former self after arriving in Brooklyn, has looked spry against Boston’s non-existent defense. He put the exclamation point on Brooklyn’s win with some vintage highlight-reel dunks late in the game.
It was ugly for Boston. As ugly as ugly can get. Jayson Tatum was just 3-for-12 before he left in the third quarter after getting poked in the eye. While that injury no doubt hurt, Tatum was lucky that he didn’t have to play the rest of the way.
Even when Tatum was on the floor, there was no offensive cohesion with Boston. And the defense got much too switch happy, giving Brooklyn plenty of wide open looks.
No Boston scorer reached the 20-point mark on Tuesday. Marcus Smart only flirted with that total because he got hot from three late, when it was way too late to stop the trouncing at hand.
The only real fire the Celtics showed came when Evan Fournier engaged in a heated shouting match with Kevin Durant.
Evan Fournier with some words for Kevin Durant: pic.twitter.com/svT7sNFVy1
— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) May 26, 2021
But that was it. The Celtics have been completely outplayed by the Nets in the last six quarters, and now find themselves in a 2-0 series hole. There was hope that Boston might be able to keep the series interesting, but that has evaporated after seeing the Nets toying with the undermanned Celtics in the first two games.
The saying goes that a series doesn’t really start until a road team wins a game. And the Celtics sound extremely reliant on some home cooking when the series shifts to Boston on Friday night, already putting an embarrassing Game 2 in their rear-view mirror.
“They did their job tonight; they took care of home court. And now it’s our job,” said Smart. “It’s over with, we’ve got to move on to the next game.”
The Celtics are really banking on the TD Garden crowd to give them an extra boost, especially for Sunday’s Game 4 when the seats will be filled to near capacity.
“We’ve been in a lot of series here over the last few years,” said head coach Brad Stevens. “We’ve been down 2-0, we’ve been up 2-0. Several times, the script has flipped. You got to focus on what you can control, but there’s no question that we look forward to playing at TD Garden, and we’ll look forward to playing with more fans in TD Garden.”
The fans will certainly show up and will have plenty of juice flowing for both Games 3 and 4. It’s just a shame that we’re not totally sold on Celtics players doing the same.