Nets’ stars and role players unite to crush Celtics in Game 2

2021 NBA Playoffs - Boston Celtics v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant played an awesome all-around game. James Harden dictated the offense. Kyrie Irving found his spots.

The Nets’ big three met their (high) expectations.

But – after frequently isolating with its stars in Game 1 – Brooklyn got far more help in Game 2.

Nets other than Durant, Harden and Irving in all of Game 1: 22 points.

Nets other than Durant, Harden and Irving in the first quarter of Game 2: 24 points.

Brooklyn’s offense was clicking on all cylinders from the start en route to a 130-108 win over the Celtics on Tuesday.

Up 2-0 entering Game 3 Friday, the Nets appear to be in complete control of this series. Nos. 1, 2 and 3 seeds that won the first two games of a best-of-seven first-round series have advanced all 64 times.

Boston star Jayson Tatum also left the game for good after getting poked in the eye by Durant in the third quarter.

Durant (26 points, eight rebounds, five assists, four blocks and a steal), Harden (20 points and seven assists) and Irving (15 points and six assists) all shined.

So did Joe Harris (25 points, including 16 in the first quarter, 7-of-10 3-point shooting) and Blake Griffin (11 points and four assists). Griffin even had a couple thunderous dunks:

What led to Brooklyn’s more-egalitarian offense is a chicken-or-the-egg question. Did the big three pass more because other players were more active off the ball and in transition? Or were other players more active off the ball and in transition because the big three was passing more? Probably some of both.

Either way, it snowballed into a spectacular performance.

The Nets scored 109 points through three quarters before letting their foot off the gas in extended garbage time. Brooklyn led by at least 20 the final 32 minutes.

The biggest drama came when Durant and Evan Fournier exchanged terse words in the third quarter after Fournier fouled Durant:

With Jaylen Brown already sidelined and Tatum (nine points on 3-of-12 shooting in 21 minutes) exiting early, the Nets gained a 3-0 star advantage on the Celtics.

Brooklyn’s role players also outplaying Boston’s, this was a complete rout.