Jayson Tatum’s Buzzer-Beater Shows Nets vs. Celtics Has Makings of Instant Classic | Bleacher Report

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If this was just Game 1, phew boy, we are in for a treat.

Jayson Tatum topped off a wild, back-and-forth instant classic between the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets on Sunday with a game-winning, buzzer-beater layup to give the home team a 115-114 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference first round playoff series.

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Coming into the playoffs, this was the series everybody wanted to see. The Nets—who struggled through injuries, the James Harden trade and Kyrie Irving’s inability to play home games for the majority of the season as an unvaccinated player—were as good a No. 7 seed as you’ll see.

The Celtics, meanwhile, were the NBA’s hottest team down the stretch and didn’t dodge a potential Nets matchup, instead continuing to win to earn the No. 2 seed.

So the anticipation was high heading into Sunday, and the matchup more than lived up to the hype. This game had everything.

There were 20 lead changes as both sides traded punches. Tatum went off for 31 points, while Jaylen Brown had 23. The Nets nearly stole one despite Kevin Durant’s rare struggles on the big stage (9-of-24 from the field, 23 points, six turnovers, multiple shots blocked). And after a first half riddled with foul calls from the whistle-happy officials, the second half had an actual flow.

Then there was Irving, who had a few middle-finger salutes for a heckling Boston crowd at TD Garden.

He had nothing but buckets for the Celtics, though, going off for 39 points to nearly steal this one for a Nets team that trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half.

It was as though the fan animosity only made him stronger:

Were it not for Tatum’s last-gasp winner, Irving would have been the story. His next paycheck will probably be significantly lighter after he flipped Boston the bird.

But it all made for incredible theatre. And it sure seems as though we’ll get six sequels to one of the best Game 1s you’ll ever see.

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