Tatum’s 54 points helps Celtics overcome test against Brooklyn 126-120

BOSTON — The Celtics late game surge in the fourth quarter catapults them over the Brooklyn Nets 126-120. And although Jayson Tatum’s 54 points is the headline–it was the defensive effort that secured the win.

With seven minutes to go in the fourth, the game was tight. Coach Udoka only played nine players, the bench for Boston only finished with 14 points as a whole.

 Kevin Durant subbed in with 5 minutes left. KD and Kyrie Irving shared baskets on each possession. That’s until KD started getting double teamed–then he began to facilitate the rock. Seth Curry made a huge corner three to keep the game in reach.

Despite a close game, Brooklyn couldn’t stop the penetration of Jayson Tatum to the basket. Boston kept running a high screen at the top of the key forcing Curry to switch and defend Tatum, causing a mismatch. And with Brooklyn being in the bonus early in the fourth, the Nets were in a tough spot.

A big three was hit by Jaylen Brown in the fourth quarter with 39 seconds to go. Brown’s three made the game a two possession game. He finished with 21 points. 

KD dropped 37 points while Irving dropped 19. The Boston native Bruce Brown played heavy minutes (30) and finished with 16. Celtics fans heckled Irving throughout the entire game and even during Brown’s late game free throws. The former Celtics point guard just smiled and shook his head. 

This was a big game for both ball clubs. The Brooklyn Nets fall under .500 and sit at the 9th spot in the conference. And with Ben Simmons still out, they have limited time to start getting it together. 

As for the Celtics–they’re now tied for second place in the conference. Before this, they’ve been blowing out Brooklyn but it was without KD and Irving. This game solidified their right to be considered serious contenders. 

Wednesday, the Celtics will have another eastern matchup on the road against the Charlotte Hornets.

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