Brooklyn Boro

Nets need a quick turnaround at Barclays

Brooklyn drops two in Boston, hosts Game 3 Saturday

April 21, 2022 John Torenli, Sports Editor
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The Boston Celtics are coming to Brooklyn to end the Nets’ season.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving need to do something about that right away or our borough’s hopes for its first major pro sports championship since 1955 will be all but over.

Durant and Irving hope to help the Nets avert a potentially dooming 0-3 series hole Saturday night at Downtown’s Barclays Center, where they will host the Celtics for Game 3 of their best-of-7 Eastern Conference semifinal series.

“I think our intensity dropped a little bit in the second half. We also didn’t convert,” Nets head coach Steve Nash said after Brooklyn’s 114-107 Game 2 loss at Boston’s TD Garden Wednesday night.

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“We had opportunities, we didn’t convert.”

That can’t be the case Saturday as Brooklyn will be up against a potential 0-3 hole, which no team has ever recovered from in any previous NBA postseason series.

Things didn’t seem to be so dire when the Nets opened up a 17-point, first-half lead. But the Celtics kept coming, much as they did in Game 1.

Celtics fans had plenty of gestures for Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday night in Boston. AP Photo by Michael Dwyer

Boston snapped an early fourth-quarter tie and went off on a 23-4 run that put Brooklyn in must-win mode going forward. The Nets have to take four of the remaining five contests to advance to the next round.

Durant suffered his second straight poor shooting effort in Game 2. He went 4-of-17 from the floor two nights after a 9-of-24 performance in the opener.

Irving, who had a game-high 39 points in Game 1, finished with only 10 on 4-of-13 shooting. He was booed mercilessly throughout pregame introductions and virtually any time he touched the ball after being fined $50,000 by the league for making a pair of obscene gestures to the crowd Monday.

Bruce Brown scored 23 points, Goran Dragic had 18 and Seth Curry added 16 for Brooklyn, which was outscored 29-17 in the fourth quarter.

“We just weren’t scoring at the other end,” Brown said. “I just think our physicality took a step down in the second half.”

Durant has been under duress since the series began as the Celtics continue to work him hard on the defensive end in an effort to quell his offensive prowess.

“I think we did that,” Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said. “We want to make him work defensively and offensively have bodies on him the whole time and try to wear him down.”

Jaylen Brown scored 22 points and Jayson Tatum added 19 for Boston, which is trying to avenge a five-game ouster at the hands of Brooklyn in last year’s opening round showdown.

Ben Simmons may not be ready for this round, but if the Nets advance to the conference semifinals, the swingman could be a contributor. AP Photo by Matt Slocum

NOTHING BUT NET: Nash shot down a report that swingman Ben Simmons, who has not played for Brooklyn since being acquired from Philadelphia three months ago in the trade-deadline deal that sent James Harden to the 76ers, might be available for Game 4. He said he hadn’t heard anything about it, but did reveal that Simmons was doing contact work with teammates and took “another step” toward playing for the first time since last May. … Game 4 will be in Brooklyn on Monday night. Game 5, if necessary, willl be back in Boston Wednesday.

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