Celtics-Nets takeaways: Tatum outshines Nets stars in Game 3 win


The Boston Celtics are one game away from a trip to the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

They earned a 109-103 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the first-round playoff series. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were the stars at Barclays Center with 39 and 23 points respectively, outscoring the Nets' superstar duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving (16 points apiece).

Marcus Smart chipped in 14 points for the C's while Payton Pritchard added 10 off the bench. For Brooklyn, Bruce Brown enjoyed another impressive performance in a loss with 26 points.

ESPN's Zach Lowe admits C's maybe have 'best defense I've ever seen'

Tip-off for Game 4 is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m. ET. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live right here on NBC Sports Boston.

Here are our takeaways from Boston's Game 3 victory.

Jayson Tatum continues to outshine Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving

A return home to Brooklyn didn't help Kevin Durant turn things around in the series. The future Hall of Famer once again looked frustrated and overmatched against Boston's stifling defense.

Durant finished with a modest 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting. He turned the ball over four times, making it 16 turnovers for him through three games.

Much of Durant's struggles can be attributed to Jayson Tatum, who's done a phenomenal job guarding the Nets star in this series. He also notched a career-high six steals to top off his outstanding defensive performance.


Tatum outscored Durant and Kyrie Irving combined, dropping 39 points (13-29 FG) to their 32 (12-28).

Tatum finished with a wild stat line of 39 points, six assists, six steals and five rebounds. It's the first 35/5/5/5 playoff game by a Celtic in the last 40 years, per StatMuse.

His latest performance on the big stage caught the attention of C's great Paul Pierce, who believes there may be a passing of the torch in the series.

Another big fourth quarter for Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown has been the "King In The Fourth" for the Celtics these last three games.

The 25-year-old tallied 12 points (4-6 FG) in the fourth quarter of Game 1, 10 points (4-7) in the fourth of Game 2, and in Game 3 he helped Boston pull away with nine points (4-6) in the final frame.

Brooklyn kept it close for much of the fourth quarter Saturday night, but Brown stepped up to be the closer. His effort has the C's one game away from completing the first-round sweep.

Payton Pritchard, Grant Williams add boost off bench

The Celtics bench has been an advantage in the series and that carried into the Game 3 victory.

Payton Pritchard went on a run with all 10 of his points coming in the first half. The second-year guard shot 4-of-5 from the field (2-3 3-PT) in 12 minutes.

It was Pritchard's second consecutive 10-point outing. He did it in 16 minutes in the team's Game 2 win.

Grant Williams wasn't as much of an offensive factor as he was in Game 2 when he dropped 17 points, but he still made a significant impact. He had seven points while contributing to Boston's suffocating defense, and he added five rebounds including three offensive boards.

Robert Williams returns

Robert Williams made his much-anticipated return from his knee injury on Saturday night. The Celtics big man was eased into action with a minutes limit, but he still showed flashes of his usual self.

Williams made his presence felt early on by finishing off an alley-oop that didn't count. Shortly after that, he swatted away Andre Drummond's shot in typical Time Lord fashion.

Williams finished another alley-oop early in the second quarter. This time, it counted.

He only played 16 minutes, but it was an encouraging night nonetheless. C's head coach Ime Udoka said after the game Williams could have played more, which is exactly what Boston fans want to hear with the team only one win away from the second round.

Note: Games 4-6 of the Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics series will be aired on NBC Sports Boston and can also be streamed on NBCSportsBoston.com or with the MyTeams App, which you can download below.

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