In a turn of events nobody outside of Boston saw coming, the Celtics have the Brooklyn Nets on the brink of elimination after putting them into an 0-3 hole during the opening round of the NBA playoffs.
Although the Nets are led by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, the pair has been unable to claim a single victory in three games. Durant in particular has been defended beautifully by the Celtics and it’s really thrown him off his game. Although the series isn’t over yet, no team has ever returned from a 0-3 deficit in NBA history. If the Nets go out this way, expect there to be some changes made.
Durant has been so off throughout the series that it caused Celtics legend to fire off a blazing hot take and compare him to Jayson Tatum.
Changing of the Guard?
Seeing a team on the verge of the sweep causes a lot of opinions to boil to the surface, but not all of them are as controversial as this.
After the game, Pierce made the observation that he believes Tatum is on the verge of passing Durant because of this series.
“I think [Jayson Tatum] maybe surpassing Kevin Durant right before our eyes in the NBA hierarchy,” he tweeted.
Unsurprisingly, this take didn’t go down with fans, even if they were originally fans of Pierce.
“Tatum is a superstar and I like him but ya just disrespecting KD,” one wrote.
“After one series… that’s wild after all the excellence this man displayed …3 bad games he’s being surpassed?” asked another.
It’s no secret that Durant has had a rough series against the Celtics, but there are a variety of factors at play there. For starters, the defense played on him is unlike anything he’s faced all year and it’s clearly making a difference.
This is where the team needs Kyrie Irving to step up, but he’s had similar struggles himself outside of his strong Game 1. With the Nets on the verge of elimination, there is still one more player who could step in and make a difference, but it might be too little too late on that end.
Will Ben Simmons Return?
Reports have stated Simmons plans on making his Nets debut in Game 4, but now that doesn’t make a ton of sense considering Brooklyn is in a massive hole. Simmons has played in nearly a year, so he’ll likely be on a minutes restriction and it’s not clear how much he can even provide.
His defense would’ve certainly been nice to have against Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, but that ship has set sail.
Things got so bad for the Nets during Game 3 that head coach Steve Nash turned to Blake Griffin for the first time in the series, and he actually provided a big lift for the team even though it didn’t result in a victory.
There’s still at least one game left for the Nets this season, and it’s at home so they’ll have the fans behind them. Then again, Game 3 did have a good amount of Celtics fans in attendance, so that could be the case again.