Boston Celtics

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 22: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets takes a shot as Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics defends in the third quarter during Game One of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series on May 22, 2021 at Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Many expected the Celtics to struggle wire-to-wire in their first-round series against the Nets. However, they put up a strong fight early in Game 1, leading by as many as 12 points in the second quarter. However, the Nets’ stars started to click in the second half, as Brooklyn took the win 104-93 Saturday night at the Barclays Center. 

Despite their strong start, the Celtics were outmatched for almost the entire second half. Over the final 24 minutes, Boston was outscored 57-40.

Boston’s start was as strong as it was surprising. The Celtics jumped out to an 18-10 lead, forcing the Nets to take an early timeout. Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker accounted for 12 of the 18 points. 

The Nets would get back within two behind a 6-0 run out of the timeout, before both teams went cold. An apparent Marcus Smart buzzer beater was ruled after the horn, and after one quarter the Celtics led 21-16.

It felt inevitable that a Nets run was coming. After the Celtics extended their lead to 12 points early in the second quarter, Brooklyn went on a 13-4 stretch to get within three points. That’s as close as the Nets would get for the half, as the Celtics regained control and held their lead. Heading to the locker room, the C’s were up 53-47.

Three pointers were the difference in the first half. Boston was 9-of-17 from deep, while Brooklyn was just 1-of-13, and didn’t hit their first three pointer until late in the second quarter.

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.