Nets Find Their Groove as Kyrie Silences Boston in Game 4 Win

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Final: 05/30/2021

W 141 – 126

The Nets bounced back from their Game 3 loss in a big way.

The Big Three combined for 104 points in a 141-126 victory over the Celtics in Boston on Sunday. Kyrie Irving especially stood out as he quieted the crowd with 39 points on the night. 

Brooklyn had a dominant offensive showing as it recorded a franchise playoff record high in points, led by as many as 27 points and shot 57.8% from the field. Though Boston made some shots late to add to their total, the Nets out-scored the Celtics 108-92 over the latter three quarters as the offense came alive and defense locked down.

The Celtics looked their best in the first quarter as they picked up where they left off in Game 3 and built as large as a nine-point lead. Jayson Tatum continued to cook Brooklyn as Kemba Walker and Mike Williams sat out the game due to injuries.

It was a defensive shift in the second quarter that brought the Nets new life. Nic Claxton made up for his lackluster Game 3 and made an immediate impact on the defensive end, recording four blocks in his first six minutes — a season-high — as defensive stops turned into offense.

From there, Brooklyn had new energy. The Big Three was at the forefront while the supporting cast also found its groove as Kevin Durant dropped a big-time 42 points and James Harden racked up a career-high 18 assists.

Brooklyn’s ball movement improved after they recorded a season-low 16 assists in Game 3. The Nets combined for 29 assists and nine turnovers on 48 field goals in Game 4 including an efficient 16-of-27 from three-point range and 29-30 from the free-throw line. The offense was on another level.

Jayson Tatum followed up his 50-point game on Friday with 40 points on Sunday, but the Celtics were never able to cut meaningfully into Brooklyn’s lead. Six Celtics scored in double figures in total.

After a lackluster Game 3, the Nets were in need of a statement to take away any ensuing hope from Celtics fans. The Big Three combined to do just that as the bench also found its groove. The teamwork, chemistry and energy all came into form as the Nets showed what makes them so dangerous. 

Now, the Nets have the opportunity to close out the series at home on Tuesday in Game 5. With the dominant Game 4 win, good vibes are on their way to Brooklyn. 

Kevin Durant

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The stats: 42 PTS, 14-20 FG, 3-3 3PT, 11-11 FT, 4 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 2 BLK, 1 TO, 40 MIN

KD has been unstoppable.

KD was hot out of the gate and put up 17 points in the first quarter to help pace Brooklyn. He only got better from there as he finished some tough shots at the rim and made all his free throws.

KD has been as reliable as they come for the Nets in the playoffs so far — not to mention fun to watch. It’s great to see him playing at this level after many long layoffs over the past two seasons. 

Kyrie Irving

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The stats: 39 PTS, 11-24 FG, 6-12 3PT, 11-11 FT, 11 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 1 TO, 41 MIN

Kyrie used the boos from the Boston crowd as fuel.

After a Game 3 where Kyrie seemed somewhat disengaged, he found his groove early and rode that to the tune of 39 points. He found success by remaining aggressive to the bucket while also making some big-time shots from distance.

Kyrie may never quiet every single Celtics fan, but he sure made them clear out of TD Garden earlier than expected with his big-time play. It’s a shame a fan had to throw a water bottle at him after the game. 

Keep up your energy, Kai. 

James Harden

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The stats: 23 PTS, 8-12 FG, 2-5 3PT, 5-6 FT, 5 REB, 18 AST, 2 STL, 3 BLK, 6 TO, 40 MIN

James Harden is still setting career records. 

The Beard put up a career-high 18 assists as the offense started to flow in the second quarter and beyond. Harden especially worked well with the bench unit as Bruce Brown — and even Landry Shamet — got their buckets in.

The Nets are most lethal when everyone is involved, and Harden had a big part in that as he recorded more assists in Game 4 than the entire Nets team did in Game 3. Add to that an efficient night in his own right from the field, and the Big Three filled their roles to a T and then some. 

Joe Harris

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The stats: 17 PTS, 5-9 FG, 4-5 3PT, 4 REB, 3 AST, 37 MIN

The Nets truly reach Scary Hours when Joe Harris is on point.

Joe did exactly what is needed from him — knock down his opportunities when called upon. His three-pointers added on to Brooklyn’s big second and third quarters while the attention drawn to others got him some great looks.

Joe also had a part in perhaps the best play of the game — a dish to a driving Harden for a big-time slam. That awareness is what makes Brooklyn so versatile and efficient on the offensive end.

Bruce Brown

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The stats: 14 PTS, 6-10 FG, 2-2 FT, 7 REB, 1 AST, 1 BLK, 24 MIN

Bruce Brown came up big to lead the second unit.

Brown played a role in the Nets’ quick start to the second quarter, building a nine-point lead before KD and Kyrie checked back in. His defense helped shift the tide in Brooklyn’s favor while he also added a near double-double to lead the bench.

It has been a while since Bruce put up double figures in points, especially since his facial injury. The Nets need their bench to perform and Bruce made sure that effort started on the defensive end.

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