Kevin Durant scored 42 points and Kyrie Irving added 39 as the Brooklyn Nets took control in the second quarter and pulled away in the third for a 141-126 rout of the host Boston Celtics Sunday night in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
The Nets, the No. 2 seed in the East, lead the series three games to one and can secure their first trip to the conference semifinals since 2014 Tuesday night in Brooklyn. If they win, they will face the third-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the second round.
Durant produced his 12th career 40-point postseason game by shooting 14 of 20 from the field and hitting all 11 of his free throws. Durant finished one point shy of the Nets’ single-game postseason scoring record set by Vince Carter against the Miami Heat in 2006.
Irving bounced back from shooting 6 of 17 in Game 3 on Friday to shoot 11 of 24 overall and make 6 of 12 3-point tries. The former Celtics guard also made 11 of 11 free throws and grabbed 11 rebounds while hearing boos throughout the game from the sellout crowd of 17,226.
James Harden added 23 and a playoff career-high 18 assists to fall one shy of the franchise’s postseason record for assists set by Jason Kidd against the Toronto Raptors in 2007.
Brooklyn’s star trio combined to shoot 33-of-56 from the field while the Nets shot 57.8 percent and set a franchise record for points in a playoff game.
Jayson Tatum followed up his 50-point game from Friday by scoring 40 but Boston had little answers defensively for the Brooklyn’s stars. Marcus Smart and Evan Fournier added 16 apiece for the Celtics, who shot 43.5 percent and were without Kemba Walker (left knee) and Robert Williams III (sprained left ankle).
Tatum scored 14 points as the Celtics held a 34-33 lead after the opening quarter.
Harden and Irving combined for 26 of Brooklyn’s 40 points in the second when the Nets shot 70 percent and made their first 10 shots to grab a 73-60 lead.
Irving’s tip-in dunk with 7:07 left in the third period gave the Nets their first 20-point lead at 88-68. Brooklyn then reached the century mark when Bruce Brown hit a layup for a 100-77 lead with 4:08 remaining and held a 112-91 lead into the fourth.
Two free throws by Smart cut Boston’s deficit to within 121-103 with 8:07 remaining but Durant hit consecutive 3-pointers for a 127-103 lead less than a minute later to finish it off.
–Field Level Media
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