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Tatum Scores 39, Celtics On Verge Of Sweeping Nets After 109-103 Win In Game 3

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Celtics are on the brink of a first-round sweep, putting the Nets in a 3-0 series hole with a 109-103 Game 3 win in Brooklyn on Saturday night.

Boston took a commanding lead in the series thanks to another big night from Jayson Tatum, who scored 39 points to go with six assists, five rebounds and six steals. Tatum is the first Celtics player with at least 30 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals in a playoff game since Dave Cowens put up 30-17-7-5 in 1976.

Jaylen Brown was also big for Boston, scoring 23 point off 9-for-16 shooting to go with five assists and four rebounds. Marcus Smart added 14 points and six assists for Boston.

The Celtics' suffocating defense once again made Kevin Durant a non-factor, with the Nets superstar taking just 11 shots in his 46 minutes on Saturday night. Durant hit six of those shots for 16 points, but continues to look like he wants no part of the Celtics this series. He's also looked exhausted throughout the first three games of the series, which is no surprised given how Boston is making his life miserable whenever he touches the ball.

Kyrie Irving also had just 16 points for Brooklyn, shooting 6-for-17 from the floor. Bruce Brown was the Nets' leading scorer with 26 points in Game 3.

Celtics center Robert Williams played his first game since tearing his meniscus on March 27, getting 16 minutes of action off the bench. Williams had two points, two rebounds, a block and an assist in his brief appearance.

The C's will get their first chance at finishing the Nets on Monday night in New York. No team has ever come back from a 3-0 hole in the NBA Playoffs.

Boston fell behind by seven at the start of the game, but Tatum exploded for 12 points in the opening frame to flip the scoreboard. The Celtics led by six after the first, and built on the lead to start the second as Durant got a rest on the bench. Three straight buckets by Payton Pritchard -- including a nice step-back three -- ballooned Boston's lead to a dozen, 37-25, early in the second.

But Brooklyn rattled off a 13-4 run late in the second quarter and the Celtics led by just three, 53-50, at the half. Irving had his fingerprints all over the run despite scoring just once during the stretch, dishing out three while coming up with a steal.

The Celtics again pulled ahead in the third, going up by as many as 12 points, but the Nets came back once again. Patty Mills drew an offensive foul on Tatum and then canned a three to pull the Nets within three, 75-72, with 1:15 in the quarter. Boston called a timeout, and the Celtics promptly went on a 6-0 run to end the frame. Marcus Smart put in an easy two off a Jaylen Brown miss and then hit a deep two, before Brown came up with a dunk off a steal to end the quarter for Boston. That run changed the momentum of the game, with the Celtics leading 81-72 heading into the fourth quarter.

After being held scoreless in the second quarter, Tatum scored 13 in the third for Boston. He continued his hot streak into the fourth, draining a three and then getting a driving two and the foul as part of an 8-0 Celtics run to go up 96-84. Brown was also big in the fourth, scoring nine points in the frame.

Tatum fed Al Horford for a corner three, and then made a nice driving hoop with his left hand to put the Celtics up 101-88 with 3:51 left, essentially sealing the win for Boston. Brooklyn made it interesting with back-to-back triples by Mills, and Bruce Brown made it a 105-100 game with 22 seconds left by going 1-for-2 at the free throw line.

But Tatum knocked down two freebies, and then finished the Nets off by turning a steal into a dunk. Tatum was 13-for-29 from the floor, adding nine points on 10 free throws.

Now Boston is just one win away from advancing to the second round -- and sending Brooklyn home for the offseason.


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