Nets advance to first round of playoffs, will face Celtics
The Brooklyn Nets clinched the n. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 115-108 win in the play in game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Brooklyn will face the n. 2 seeded Boston Celtics, that have homecourt advantage. Game 1 of the series will be played on Sunday in Boston.
Kyrie Irving led the Nets with 34 points and 11 assists in 42 minutes of play. Even more spectacular if we consider he started observing Ramadan and he is not eating or drinking from sunrise to sunset. “That’s tough to do,” Durant said about Irving respecting those restrictions while being a pro athlete. “But to play NBA games like that the last week or so, it shows he is a different kind of human being.”
Double-Double also for Durant with 25 points and 11 assists. Bruce Brown and Andre Drummond gave a crucial contribution.
How does it feel to be part of a team in which everybody seems to be able to contribute, not just the big stars? “It feels incredible. I don’t want to take it for granted,” Irving said. “When we have moments like this where we are clicking on almost all cylinders. When you have guys that are scoring over 15 points …we’re executing very well and we’re trusting one another.”
Despite Durant and Irving’s dominant performance, the Nets gave out a 22-point lead. Brooklyn never trailed, but the Cavs came back, cutting their deficit to just five points in the fourth quarter. The Nets managed to weather the storm.
Cleveland’s Darius Garland was impressive, but his 34 points were not enough for a win in the play in.
The Cavaliers will have another chance to secure a spot in the playoffs: On Friday they will face the winner of the Hornets-Hawks game.
Big challenge ahead now for Brooklyn. Boston has been playing great basketball. What’s the key to stop their most effective player, Jason Tatum? “That’s a tough question. Only playing as hard as we can and seeing what he does,” Durant commented.
“It’s gonna be a great test. I know that team very well and they know us very well,” Irving explained. “It’s gonna be some back and forth and once you throw that ball in the air you’re really gonna see some spectacular basketball. I am just looking forward to it.”