Needed to win. Should have won. A 10-point halftime lead. Help from the supporting cast. A Celtics defense that in the first half allowed the Nets to shoot 61%. A team with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving would have to kick the game away to lose this one.
And it did. Badly. The Nets shot 31% in the second half. Durant, in those final 24 minutes, didn’t make a field goal. Irving, lustily booed for the second game in a row, finished 4-of-13. Seven Celtics finished in double-figures.
“They’re being physical,” said Steve Nash. “They’re up and into him, grabbing him, holding him, all that stuff you come to expect. He’s been uncomfortable and hasn’t looked like he’s been able to get his rhythm.”