Team-oriented protection collides with superstar-driven offense in a traditional battle of strengths on Sunday when the Boston Celtics and visiting Brooklyn Nets open an Eastern Conference first-round playoff sequence.
The Celtics led the NBA in a number of defensive classes, together with factors allowed, en path to capturing the second seed within the East. They completed seven video games forward of the seventh-seeded Nets.
Surprisingly, Boston was capable of overpower Brooklyn offensively in a 3-1 win within the season sequence. The Celtics rolled up 126, 129 and 126 factors in consecutive victories between Feb. 8 and March 6.
The golf equipment haven’t seen one another in six weeks, throughout which era a lot has modified.
The Celtics went 12-4 after their 126-120 dwelling win over the Nets on March 6, turning their consideration to protection regardless of the loss to anchor Robert Williams III to meniscus harm in his left knee.
Boston hasn’t dominated out Williams for the sequence, however its wishful considering focuses extra on a possible Game 6 or 7 than Sunday’s opener.
The Celtics held their final 16 opponents to a median of 106.1 factors. Five opponents in that stretch had been held under 100 factors.
Celtics rookie coach Ime Udoka, a longtime assistant to Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, believes having six days off main into Game 1 has benefited him and his staff.
“I think nine years of being an assistant, and making the playoffs every year, and playing in a few championships in high-pressure situations has prepared me for this,” he claimed. “I think the team is ready as well.”
And so are the Nets, although Ben Simmons gained’t play in Game 1 as he continues to reportedly make progress towards a possible season debut within the subsequent two weeks.
Brooklyn needed to win a play-in sport simply to make the sector, however did simply that thanks largely to its famous person firepower. Kyrie Irving collected 34 factors and 12 assists and Kevin Durant added 25 and 11, respectively, in a 115-108 dwelling win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday.
The Nets didn’t have Irving after they posted a 123-104 victory at Boston in November. Durant contributed 21 factors and eight assists within the win.
Brooklyn didn’t have both star for 126-91 and 129-106 shellackings within the subsequent two conferences, however had all arms on deck for what may have been a sequence preview at Boston on March 6. Jayson Tatum (54) and Jaylen Brown (21) mixed to outscore Durant (37) and Irving (19) within the Celtics’ 126-120 win.
Boston wanted a 16-9 end in that one to rally from a late deficit.
While some had projected a Nets-Celtics matchup within the Eastern Finals earlier than the bracket was decided, Irving, a former Celtic, famous there’s no time like the current.
“I wouldn’t say we’d like to avoid them in any way,” Irving mentioned. “This is the best part of the story that could be written. We go against Boston and have a chance to redeem ourselves (for a poor regular season). They have a healthy team, we have a healthy team; now we get to see who’s (better).”
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