Nets takeaways from 115-114 Game 1 loss to Celtics, including Kyrie Irving's heroics falling short

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Nets Kyrie Irving shooting over Boston Celtics playoffs white jersey
Nets Kyrie Irving shooting over Boston Celtics playoffs white jersey

The Nets lost, 115-114, to the Boston Celtics on Sunday in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series because of Jayson Tatum's buzzer-beating layup.

Head coach Steve Nash started the game with his usual starting five. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, Andre Drummond and Bruce Brown.

Here are the takeaways…

- The one word to describe the first quarter --and the entire game, really -- was physical. Both teams were driving to the hoop, which resulted in a lot of fouls. There were 18 total fouls between the two teams in that opening quarter. For Brooklyn, despite seven turnovers, they were in the game and at some points leading in the first. However, the Celtics would end the first up 29-28.

In the opening quarter, the Nets shot 50 percent while the defense held the Celtics to 41 percent shooting. Curry led the Nets with nine points while Durant and Irving had just four points each.

- With five minutes left in the second, Drummond would get his fourth foul. Up to that point, both teams were trading buckets. With Drummond on the bench, the Celtics went on an 8-2 run with Tatum getting six of those points. Goran Dragic's passing and shooting sparked a 10-4 run for the Nets to close out the first half. At the half, Brooklyn and Boston were tied at 61.

The Nets shot 57 percent in the second quarter, but the Celtics shot 58 percent. Brooklyn's starting five was playing well, but Durant had just seven points on 2-of-10 shooting and turned the ball over four times. Irving had a team-high 15 points while Tatum led the Celtics with 15.

- Durant, Irving, Curry, Brown, and Drummond (with his four fouls) started the third quarter. The Celtics went on a 9-0 run early on thanks to offensive boards and sloppy play from Brooklyn, including a possession where Marcus Smart stole an Irving in-bounds after the rest of his teammates left him alone. Brown, Curry, and Smart got their fourth fouls, limiting their playing time. The Nets were down by as much as 15 in the third, and a late Celtics run had Boston up 96-85 after three.

Durant got more involved in the offense as he scored 18 points up to this point in the game. Both teams shot just 48 percent, but Boston's size and defense continued to make it hard for Brooklyn to get rolling. Despite his foul trouble, Smart had 11 of his 18 points in this quarter and just about single-handedly dug the hole the Nets were in with his offense/defense.

- The fourth quarter was all Irving's. He scored eight straight points to bring the Nets back into the game with nine minutes left. A three from Durant gave the Nets a 100-98 lead with eight minutes remaining as they took their first lead since the second quarter. Both teams then traded blows, and with 45 seconds left in regulation and the scored tied at 111, Irving hit a three in front of Smart. After a quick two from Boston, Durant missed a three with the shot clock winding down. On their final possession, the Celtics frantically looked for a shot and found Tatum for a turnaround layup at the buzzer to win the game.

Irving scored 18 points in that final frame and 39 total. Durant added 23, but Tatum's last-second layup (31 points total) lifted Boston to the win. Four of the Celtics' starting five scored at least 20 points.

Highlights

What’s next

The Nets stay in Boston to take on the Celtics in Game 2 on Wednesday at 7 p.m.