BOSTON — Jaylen Brown scored 10 of his team-high 22 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Celtics to a furious fourth quarter comeback in a win over the Brooklyn Nets. The victory gives Boston a 2-0 edge in the best-of-seven series.
Jayson Tatum added seven of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, helping to fuel a 21-4 Boston run and erase what had been a 17-point first half lead by the Nets. Six different Celtics scored in double digits in the win including 17 points from Grant Williams off the bench off just six shot attempts.
Boston’s defense also locked down on the Nets’ stars in the second half as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both struggled mightily from the field, missing 22 of their first 30 shots.
Brooklyn came out of the gates with authority, opening the game with a 9-0 run with all nine points coming via Boston native Bruce Brown. The outburst set the tone for the first half as the visitors led from wire-to-wire with other members of the Nets supporting cast chipping in a major way besides Brown. Goran Dragic had 16 first half points off the bench, helping the Nets overcome sluggish starts from Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Boston’s supporting cast was just as big on the other end as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown also came out slow, scoring just 13 combined points in the first half. However, Boston was kept in the game thanks to a perfect half from Grant Williams (13 first half points) and some timely offensive contributions from Al Horford and Daniel Theis to keep the hosts within striking distance.
From there, Jaylen Brown came alive in the fourth quarter, helping the Celtics open the final frame with a 16-4 run to take the lead for the first time in the game and erase what had been a 17-point Nets lead. Boston’s defense also continually locked down on the Nets’ offense as the visitors managed to score just six points in the opening nine minutes of the period despite scoring 90 points in the first three frames. Payton Pritchard also added eight points off the bench to help C’s offense put the game away late.
Game 3 of the series is Saturday night at Brooklyn with a 7:30 p.m. start time.
Brian Robb, masslive.com