Nets takeaways from Saturday's 109-103 Game 3 loss to Celtics, including not enough Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving

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Kevin Durant backing down Jaylen Brown Game 3
Kevin Durant backing down Jaylen Brown Game 3

The Nets came up short in a 109-103 loss to the Boston Celtics in Brooklyn, and are now on the verge of being swept in the series.

Five things to know from Game 3...

1. In the early minutes, it was Bruce Brown who brought the energy for the Nets, scoring seven of Brooklyn’s first nine points, as the Nets jumped out to a 12-5 lead. But on the other end, Jayson Tatum also got off to a hot start with a quick eight points on a couple of threes.

Tatum was a problem in the first, scoring 12 points to lead Boston to a 30-25 lead after 12 minutes. Brown had 10 points in the quarter for the Nets.

2. Coming off a game in which he shot just 4-of-17 from the floor, Kevin Durant was once again swarmed by the Boston defense early. He hit his first two shots, but was limited to just five points in his first 19 minutes while also picking up two fouls.

In the early minutes of the second, with Durant on the bench, the Celtics increased their lead to nine points, their largest of the game to that point. Payton Pritchard (10 points) fueled the Celtics in the quarter, helping Boston push the lead to double digits. But Nic Claxton (10 points in his first 13 minutes) gave the Nets some valuable minutes off the bench, and a Patty Mills three cut the Boston lead to just one point with under a minute left in the half.

Ultimately, Boston led 53-50 at the break, led by Tatum’s 12 points and Pritchard’s 10 off the bench. For Brooklyn, Durant and Kyrie Irving combined for 17 first-half points, but it was Brown’s 16 points leading the way.

3. The Celtics scored five quick points to start the third quarter, prompting Steve Nash to call a timeout. Durant and Irving tried to get the Nets back into it, but the Celtics were there to answer every blow, as a Tatum three pushed the lead back to nine with five-and-a-half-minutes to go in the period.

Just as the lead hit double digits again, the Nets fought back, led by Brown and Claxton with a key Mills three making it a three-point game with just over a minute to go. But in the blink of an eye, the Celtics lead was back to nine by the end of the quarter, as a Jaylen Brown steal and slam put an exclamation point on the quick run.

4. In the fourth, Blake Griffin got his first minutes of the series, and he brought some energy and defense in his early minutes, helping the Nets climb back within five. Griffin then hit a pair of threes to bring the Nets within four, but Tatum immediately hit a three to push the lead to seven, and Boston continued to push the pace to lead by a game-high 12 points with six minutes left.

With just under four minutes to go, a Tatum layup gave Boston their biggest lead at 13 points, and they'd go on to secure the win.

5. Tatum was the star of the game, finishing with 39 points. For Brooklyn, Durant and Irving combined for just 32 points on 12-of-28 shooting. Brown led Brooklyn with 26 points.

Highlights

What’s next

The Nets and Celtics go at it for Game 4 in Brooklyn on Monday night, with tipoff set for 7:00 p.m. as Boston goes for the sweep.