If Kevin Durant’s struggles are something to go by, it should take an entire lot greater than Ben Simmons to save lots of the Brooklyn Nets from an early playoffs exit.
Durant was held to only 16 factors on Saturday because the Boston Celtics defeated the Nets 109-103 to take a 3-0 collection lead.
No staff has ever come from 3-0 right down to win an NBA playoffs collection, that means Simmons and the Nets might want to make historical past to maneuver by way of to the second spherical.
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Boston already headed into the playoffs boasting the league’s greatest defence and has been relentless in its strain on Durant, who has struggled to search out his rhythm your complete collection.
“Boston has the individual personnel to guard [Kevin Durant] and number two, they have executed the game plan,” JJ Redick mentioned pre-game, with Durant taking pictures simply 25 per cent when guarded by Jayson Tatum.
Already within the first two video games of the collection, Durant had shot 16-for-41 from the sphere and his points continued on Saturday.
Durant was extra environment friendly however solely capable of put up 5 photographs within the opening half, managing simply seven factors.
Brooklyn solely trailed 53-50 at halftime, with Bruce Brown as soon as once more arising large as a few of the different Nets stars struggled, placing up 16 factors and two steals.
Payton Pritchard additionally was helpful off the bench, ending the half with 10 factors and taking pictures 4-for-5 from the sphere.
At halftime, Boston’s personal dynamic duo of Tatum and Jaylen Brown had been held to twenty factors.
But each took over late to close out any hope of a Nets comeback.
In Games 1 and a pair of, Brown had 12 and 10 factors respectively within the fourth quarter and as soon as once more got here up clutch with 9 factors within the ultimate stretch of the sport.
Tatum, in the meantime, added 14 factors within the fourth to finish with 39 alongside six steals.
Australian Patty Mills drained a couple of 3-pointers late to assist spark a Nets fightback, ending the sport with 12 factors, however it was not sufficient.
It now leaves Simmons staring on the daunting actuality of returning for a Nets staff in a 0-3 gap.
Brooklyn beat author Kristian Winfield wrote in a column on Saturday for NY Daily News that it might be “negligent, irresponsible and downright destructive” for Simmons to be thrown right into a must-win Game 4.
Simmons is predicted to return for Game 4, though Nets coach Steve Nash mentioned on Sunday there is no such thing as a particular timeline for the Australian.
“I think it’s really a matter of if Ben is ready to play,” Nash mentioned.
If Simmons does make his Nets debut on Tuesday [AEST] in Game 4, it will likely be his first NBA sport in 309 days.
EMBIID CLAPS OFF REFS AS SIAKAM COMES UP BIG FOR RAPTORS
Pascal Siakam scored a playoff career-high 34 factors and the Toronto Raptors prevented being swept out of the NBA playoffs on Saturday by defeating the Philadelphia 76ers 110-102.
The 28-year-old Cameroonian ahead made 10-of-19 from the ground and 13-of-15 from the free throw line whereas including eight rebounds, 5 assists, two blocked photographs and a steal for host Toronto.
The 76ers nonetheless lead the Raptors 3-1 within the best-of-seven first spherical collection, which continues Tuesday [AEST] in Philadelphia. The collection winner will face both Miami or Atlanta within the second spherical.
No staff has ever recovered from a 3-0 deficit to win an NBA playoff collection. Philadelphia star middle Joel Embiid, the NBA scoring chief from Cameroon, was nagged by a proper thumb damage regardless of producing 21 factors and eight rebounds.
Embiid clashed with the referees on quite a few events within the sport earlier than sarcastically clapping them after the ultimate buzzer.
That sarcasm filtered into the post-game press convention.
“Like I was doing at the end of the game, they did a great job. I admire the job that they did today,” Embiid mentioned.
“To me, it felt like they had one job coming in here tonight, and they got it done. So, congrats to them.”
It comes after Embiid complained about Toronto coach Nick Nurse “b***ing about calls” after Game 2.
Sixers coach Doc Rivers mentioned Embiid’s thumb damage is just one thing he’s going to must take care of.
“It’s not gonna go away, so he will get better and better at figuring out how to use it,” Rivers mentioned.
The Raptors had been additionally hit by accidents, NBA Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes tweaking a sprained left ankle and Fred VanVleet leaving within the second quarter with a left hip damage.
“He’s going to need some work,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse mentioned of VanVleet.
“He has been banged around good and gone out there and played some serious minutes. I’m sure he was frustrated.”
Siakam scored 15 factors within the fourth quarter, holding off a Sixers fightback try within the ultimate minutes, and Gary Trent Jr. added 24 factors for the Raptors.
James Harden led Philadelphia with 22 factors whereas Tobias Harris added 15 factors and 11 rebounds.
Later playoff video games Sunday [AEST] will discover Dallas at Utah, Boston at Brooklyn and Memphis at Minnesota.
The Sixers haven’t swept a best-of-seven collection since beating Milwaukee within the second spherical of the 1985 NBA playoffs.
Embiid, who averaged 27.7 factors and 13.0 rebounds a sport within the first three video games, began regardless of the sore thumb, which Sixers coach Doc Rivers mentioned couldn’t be made worse by his taking part in.
VanVleet left with the Raptors in a 20-6 run that produced a 50-38 Toronto lead. Philadelphia charged again inside 54-49 at halftime and pulled degree at 54-54 early within the third quarter however couldn’t seize the lead, trailing 80-77 coming into the fourth earlier than Siakam took over within the fourth.
GOBERT SPOILS LUKA’S RETURN WITH SLAM DUNK WINNER
Rudy Gobert’s slam dunk with 11 seconds remaining gave the Utah Jazz a 100-99 victory over Dallas on Saturday in Luka Doncic’s return from damage for the Mavericks whereas the Toronto Raptors prevented being swept by Philadelphia.
Slovenian star guard Doncic, who hadn’t performed since April 10 resulting from a left calf pressure, scored 30 factors on 11-of-21 taking pictures whereas flattening 10 rebounds however his late-game heroics weren’t sufficient.
Doncic sank a jumper to place Dallas forward and added a 3-pointer with 39 seconds remaining to present the visiting Mavericks a 99-95 lead.
But Utah’s Donovan Mitchell answered with a 3-point play and after Dwight Powell missed two free throws for Dallas, Gobert’s slam dunk produced the deciding factors.
Dallas had one final possession however Utah defenders swarmed Doncic, who handed to Spencer Dinwiddie solely to look at the ultimate shot fall shot.
“We tried to get it out of Luka’s hands, tried to make him pass,” Gobert mentioned of the ultimate play. “We did a great job of containing him and not letting him get the shot.” “We had the opportunity. We just let it slip away,” Dallas coach Jason Kidd mentioned. “Spencer has made that shot before. We got what we wanted. It just didn’t go down for us.” Jordan Clarkson led Utah with 25 factors off the bench whereas Mitchell added 23 for the Jazz.
The victory lifted Utah degree at 2-2 within the best-of-seven first spherical collection, which continues Monday at Dallas and Thursday at Utah.
“We have an opportunity and we’re going to make the most of it,” mentioned Gobert, who completed with 17 factors and a game-high 15 rebounds. “We believe in each other. We have to keep going.
“Intensity. We have to leave it out there, communicate and make them earn everything. We came up with the win because we made them take tough shots and we earned it.” Kidd was happy on the contribution by Doncic in his 34 minutes. “He did great,” Kidd mentioned. “He did an incredible job for us. He put us in position to win a game on the road.”