The Boston Celtics fought back from a 17-point deficit Wednesday night, defeating the Brooklyn Nets in Game 2 by a final score of 114-107.
This type of defensive performance hasn’t been seen against KD in quite some time.
The pure amount of physicality from the Boston Celtics on the superstar has the former-MVP flustered, both getting his shot blocked and missing shots he normally makes. He’s had two of the worst playoff games of his career in back-to-back contests, mainly due to the C’s successful switching defense.
As for Kyrie, after a jaw-dropping Game 1 highlight reel, he disappeared in the second half. Almost every action ran through Durant, with Irving hitting only one of his seven attempts in the final two quarters.
Similarly, KD went 0-for-10 in the last 24 minutes, a conversion rate that’s almost unfathomable to think about for a player of his caliber.
The Boston Celtics took a commanding 2-0 series lead on Wednesday night
Although some of Boston’s stars took a while to get going, they ultimately had enough to get over the hump, defending home court in the series. Let’s give out some grades for each player that saw the floor on Wednesday:
Boston Celtics player grades: Jayson Tatum (B+)
Jayson Tatum had an uninspiring first half of Game 2, recording seven points and five assists on two-of-eight shooting. He was struggling to get to his spots from midrange as well as finishing at the rim, getting blocked by Andre Drummond on occasion.
With Tatum being such a big part of the Celtics’ success in the previous game, they would need the superstar to find himself as the game went on.
And that he did, scoring seven points and dropping four assists in the fourth quarter alone, including a dagger pull-up trey that was heavily contested. He was continuously making the right pass despite his shooting deficiencies, ending with a game-high ten dimes.
On the defensive end, he had perhaps the most impressive game of his career as an individual defender, recording yet another block on one of Kevin Durant’s jumpers. Not many players can say they’ve blocked KD’s shot, and now Tatum’s done it in back-to-back games.
Chasing around the mega-star for a full game is undoubtedly taking a toll on him on the offensive end. However, he did just enough on Wednesday to propel his team to a win, while clamping up one of the best players the game has ever seen.
Jayson Tatum is doing some special stuff so far in this year’s playoffs.
Boston Celtics player grades: Jaylen Brown (A)
In a game that saw Tatum, Durant, and Kyrie Irving all struggle tremendously, Jaylen Brown was the one to pick up the slack. Finishing with 22 points, six assists, and four rebounds on 9-for-18 shooting, Brown carried the C’s down the stretch.
He drove with extreme force through traffic, but managed to keep enough control of his body to where he could finish at the rim effectively. The undersized Nets repeatedly tried to play three guard lineups with the likes of Kyrie, Goran Dragic, Seth Curry, Patty Mills, and even Bruce Brown.
Jaylen’s a mismatch for all of those Nets defenders, and he took proper advantage throughout the game. The contest was simply waiting for someone to take it over, with players both missing open looks and turning it over on both ends. Brown stepped up to bat, scoring ten in the final period alone.
He also was active in the passing lanes, recording three steals on the night. He had a few mental errors on the defensive end, but overall was magnificent as an athletic defender on some of Brooklyn’s firepower.