Tatum details Celtics' great defensive stop that set up Game 1 winner


The most memorable play from the Boston Celtics' exciting Game 1 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday afternoon was Jayson Tatum's buzzer-beating layup, but that play wouldn't have happened without an amazing team effort on defense during the previous possession.

The Nets had the ball leading 114-113 with a chance to increase their lead.

Kyrie Irving traveled a great distance across the court looking for an angle to shoot, but Celtics guard Marcus Smart and big man Al Horford didn't give him an inch, forcing the Nets guard to kick the ball out to Kevin Durant on the perimeter. 

Durant had the opportunity to seal a Brooklyn win with a 3-pointer, but his attempt was heavily contested by Tatum, who was all over the Nets forward defensively.

Horford secured the rebound on the miss, and then the Celtics went up the floor for the final possession where Tatum won the game.

Tatum had plenty of praise for his team's defense on Durant and Irving during that pivotal possession late in the fourth quarter.

"Smart was guarding Kyrie and Al went to double. It was kind of just a broken play," Tatum explained.

"(Irving) dribbled from one side to the other. When Durant got the ball at the end, I saw the shot clock and just tried to make it tough on him. And we did. That was a great defensive possession for our team. Everybody was communicating and we finished with a box out and a defensive rebound. And then we pushed the ball."

Tatum, Durant break down Celtics' crazy Game 1 buzzer beater

The Celtics had the No. 1 defensive rating and the best opponents' 3-point percentage during the regular season. They were the best defensive team in the league all year, and that showed when it mattered most Sunday at TD Garden. 

It was the kind of defensive effort that's required to beat a team like the Nets with two superstars of Durant and Irving's caliber.

Note: Games 2-6 of the Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics series will be aired exclusively on NBC Sports Boston and can also be streamed on NBCSportsBoston.com or with the MyTeams App, which you can download below.

Download MyTeams Today!