The match-up, date and time are set.
With the Celtics downing the Wizards, 118-100, Tuesday night in the NBA’s play-in tournament, it will be Brooklyn vs. Boston on Saturday night.
Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted out the schedule after the Celtics win. The Nets and Celtics will play in the NBA’s premier time slot, 8 p.m. ET on ABC,
NBA Playoffs Saturday on ESPN and ABC pic.twitter.com/U9v0c0z5Qx— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 19, 2021
Brooklyn swept Boston in the three meeting this past season winning by an average of 15.0 points. Irving played in all three meetings while Durant and Harden played in one meeting each.
Brad Stevens, Boston’s head coach, praised the Nets.
“We’ll do our best to get ready for Brooklyn. They’re the best of the best. As a fan of the NBA, it’s hard to see those guys losing. We’re going to have to play great and play great together,” said Stevens.
Stevens also called Brooklyn, “probably the most talented team that’s been put together since I’ve been in the NBA.”
The Celtics, who lost Jaylen Brown for the season earlier this month, were led by Jayson Tatum, who finished with 50 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Tatum spoke about the Nets as well.
“Obviously it’s going to be tough,” said Tatum. “Everyone knows the guys they have over there. But I’m excited to be in the playoffs. For the fourth year in a row. I don’t take that for granted. I’m excited for the next game.”
Like Stevens and Tatum, Kemba Walker also praised the Nets.
“We have to play hard. We have to execute our offense,” said the Celtics point guard. “They’ve got great players. We’ve got a few days. We’ll watch some film and see where we can take advantage, if anywhere.”
With things all set, so is the narrative. Kyrie Irving finally will face the boo-birds of Southie et al. Irving missed both games at TD Garden last season with injuries (although some including ESPN’s Kendrick Perkins suggested he was “scared” to return.) In their one trip to Beantown earlier this season, the Garden was devoid of fans.
Before the Celtics-Wizards game, Irving was asked about a possible match-up.
“It doesn’t matter to me. I’m so far past match-ups and all that. It’s just about who is going to prepare better and who is going to execute out there,” said Irving. “It doesn’t matter. I’ve played in Boston plenty of times before I got traded there.”
A Nets win in a Celtics series would also go a long way towards expunging the curse of the 2013 trade with Boston that left the Nets bereft of draft picks or stars. (Although some might suggest the curse ended the day the Nets hired Sean Marks.)
As Brian Lewis wrote Tuesday. “It’s not personal; it’s strictly business.”
- Nets facing Celtics in Kyrie Irving, NBA playoffs twist - Ryan Dunleavy - New York Post
- Big 3 can alter Nets’ long tortured history - Mike Vaccaro - New York Post
- NBA playoffs 2021: Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics’ reward for advancing is the Brooklyn Nets - Kevin Arnovitz - ESPN
- Tatum scores 50, Celtics beat Wizards 118-100 in play-in - Kyle Hightower - AP
- Celtics HC Brad Stevens has quite the bold statement on the Nets - Mitchell Widmeier - Clutch Points