The Brooklyn Nets blew away the Boston Celtics with ridiculous shooting numbers to negate another big offensive performance from Jayson Tatum.
Celtics fans booed Kyrie Irving and the Nets with as much vigor as they could muster, but it didn’t make a difference.
Brooklyn took a 3-1 series lead over Boston with a 141-126 victory at TD Garden on Sunday.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow for the Celtics, who regained a foothold in the series with much-needed victory in their return home. They’re one game away from elimination and heading back to Brooklyn for Game 5.
First, here are the big takeaways from Game 4:
3. Jayson Tatum is doing all he can
Tatum is trying to put the Celtics on his back. In Game 3, his 50 points drove Boston to victory. In Game 4, his 40 points weren’t enough.
What more could Boston ask of Tatum at this point? He’s scoring, he’s getting to the line, he’s rebounding, assisting and hitting three-pointers.
The 23-year-old needs more support from the players around him, but the two best options to lighten the load. Without Jaylen Brown or Kemba Walker, Tatum needs to pull off something superhuman to extend this series.
2. The Nets let it rain
If someone told you before the game that Brooklyn would shoot 57.8 percent from the field, 59.3 percent from beyond the arc and 96.7 percent from the free-throw line, you would have rightly bet big on a Brooklyn victory. That’s exactly what happened.
The Nets as a collective were on. Kevin Durant went 14-of-20, Kyrie Irving was 11-of-24 and James Harden was 8-of-12. Brooklyn also got 4-of-5 three-point shooting from Joe Harris and a 6-of-10 outing from Bruce Brown.
On the one hand, that’s ridiculous shooting from a very talented team. On the other hand, that’s a sign of subpar defense from the team facing them.
1. The series is over if Durant, Irving and Harden keep it up
Boston was always the underdog going into this series. Their only hope of forcing an upset was to keep Durant, Irving and Harden from hitting their stride. Brooklyn is currently laughing at that idea.
The Nets are virtually unstoppable if their big three are feeling it the way they did on Sunday. The trio combined for 104 of the team’s 141 points. Irving had 11 rebounds while Harden ran the show with 18 points.
If neither team is interested in playing defense, the Nets will win the shootout. All it will take is another outing even close to that from those three for this one to wrap up in five.