Image C/O: USA Today
The Celtics went into the playoffs as the seventh seed locking them into a seven game series with the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, which is arguably the hardest matchup in the East. The Nets had just recently acquired all three of their Superstar level talents leading into the Playoffs making them a huge favorite in the East.
The Nets hosted the first two games at the Barkley’s Center in Brooklyn where the Celtics seemed to show up in the beginning of Game 1, but fell flat through the rest of their visit. At the half in the Game 1, the Celtics actually had a lead over the Nets and came out flat at the half leading to a 104-93 defeat for the Cs.
Game 2 took place the following Tuesday where the Celtics came out flat from the start. Brooklyn’s insane starting lineup put up 40 points on the Cs in only the first quarter setting the tone for the game early. The Celtics were unable to recover from Kevin Durant’s 26 point night as Brooklyn soared to a 130-106 win over the Celtics.
In the first game at the Garden in the series, the Celtics took the floor Friday the 28th for a historic night in Jayson Tatum’s career. Setting a playoff career high for himself, Tatum put up 50pts on the Nets as he had to carry the load due to Robert Williams and Kemba Walker’s sidelining injuries from their trip to Brooklyn. Tatum’s dominant performance and Kyrie Irving’s cold night led the Celtics to a close 125-119 win.
Game 4 was special as the TD Garden was expanded to full capacity for the first time since the pandemic. As in Game 1, the Celtics came out hot with the energy of the crowd leading them to a halftime lead that was eventually crushed by former teammate Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant who combined for 81 points leading them to a 141-126 win for the Nets.
Following the game, Kyrie Irving was spotted stomping on the Celtics logo at center court causing some controversy and statements from former Celtics players such as Kevin Garnett, and Glen Davis expressing their disapproval of the act. As well as this, as Kyrie was leaving the court, a Celtics fan was spotted throwing a water bottle at him. That fan has been given a lifetime ban from the Garden, but the situation furthers the issues that NBA players and NBA fans have been battling in the last few weeks.
With the series down 3-1 and injuries riddling the Celtics, the team headed back to Brooklyn for Game 5 where their season had come to an end. With great performances from Brooklyn’s big three, the Nets bury the Celtics and end their season in a 123-109 game. Tatum finished with 32pts in the season closer.
With the new changes in the front office, and the search for a new head coach, the Celtics offseason officially begins.