Nets Rout Celtics 130-108 in Game 2 as Durant, Harden, Irving Combine for 61 Points

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVMay 26, 2021

BROOKLYN, NY -  MAY 22: Joe Harris #12 of the Brooklyn Nets drives to the basket against the Boston Celtics during Round 1, Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs on May 22, 2021 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets are cruising. 

They took a commanding 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series against the Boston Celtics with a 130-108 victory on Tuesday evening. 

The Nets raced out to a 40-26 first-quarter advantage and never looked back, with Joe Harris obliterating the Celtics in the first half to the tune of 22 points (which alone was a postseason career high for him) and 6-of-8 shooting from three.

It's one thing for the Celtics to lose after a big performance from Kevin Durant, James Harden or Kyrie Irving. It's another thing entirely to let role players like Harris go off. 

Heck, even Blake Griffin turned back the clock with some monster dunks:


BLAKE 🔨 pic.twitter.com/bVxcEM2lQ6

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport


And while all of that was going on, Durant turned into Dikembe Mutombo:


🚫 KD is up to 4 blocks on TNT! 🚫#NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/8Vz7GotdzV

The Nets were always favored to win this series given their significant talent advantage, especially with Jaylen Brown out for the season. But after Tuesday, it's starting to look like a sweep is on the horizon. 

Key Stats

Joe Harris, BKN: 25 points, 7-of-10 shooting from three

Kevin Durant, BKN: 26 points, eight rebounds, five assists, four blocks

James Harden, BKN: 20 points, seven assists

Jayson Tatum, BOS: Nine points, two blocks, two steals, 3-of-12 from the field

Kemba Walker, BOS: 17 points, seven assists

Marcus Smart, BOS: 19 points, six assis

Have Yourself a Game, Joe Harris

Harris just obliterated the Celtics from the perimeter. His first half was absurd. 


Joe Harris can't miss 😳<br><br>16 PTS and 4-4 from three pic.twitter.com/W9KM5V0cgG

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Joe Harris can’t miss ♨️<br><br>Nets bench was loving it. pic.twitter.com/q10JHmhBkp

Zach Harper @talkhoops

Joe Harris may not hit the rim the rest of the series

Wosny Lambre @BigWos

Letting Joe Harris shoot wide open threes might not be the optimal way to defend the nets. i may be wrong.

You aren't going to beat the Nets if their role players are performing like stars, as demonstrated by the Celtics getting absolutely worked in this one. 

But Harris and this Nets offense also present teams with a huge dilemma—sell out to stop one guy, and someone else capable of punishing you is open. On Tuesday, it was Harris who feasted on those looks. 

In Game 3, it will probably be someone else on the Nets. Good luck with that, Boston.

Jayson Tatum's Struggles Continue

In Game 1, Tatum scored 22 points but did so at an inefficient clip, finishing 6-of-20 from the field. 

He was worse in Game 2, and to compound his tough night, he didn't return after Durant inadvertently poked him in the eye in the third quarter. 

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

Jayson Tatum getting hurt is the last thing the Celtics needed. Especially on a play where he got hit in the face and there was no foul called.

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

The Celtics say Jayson Tatum will not return to Game 2 against the Nets after being poked in the eye.

Jordan Schultz @Schultz_Report

Super impressed w/#Nets. Came into both Games 1+2 completely locked in. Offensively, we know they’re elite, but defensively - this is what Steve Nash has been asking for: Blowing up actions before they get started, active hands, throwing diff looks at Tatum and constantly digging

Not that it affected the outcome much—the game was well out of hand by that point—but the status of Tatum's eye going forward will obviously be a major storyline for the Celtics.

Whatever slim, fleeting hope they have of getting back in this series will hinge entirely on Tatum playing like a superstar. He hasn't looked anything like that type of player thus far vs. the Nets. 

What's Next? 

The series moves to Boston for Game 3 on Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC).