The Boston Celtics have earned themselves a series with the second-seeded, star-studded Brooklyn Nets.
Boston claimed the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference following a 118-100 victory over the Washington Wizards in the NBA’s Play-In Tournament on Tuesday at TD Garden.
Now, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker, who scored 50 and 29 points respectively Tuesday, will be tasked with going up against Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden. It’s certainly not an ideal first-round matchup, but that’s what you get after a 36-36 regular season.
“… We’ve been backs against the wall most of the year. And to have to play tonight to get into the playoffs just to earn the right to play probably the most talented team that’s been assembled since I’ve been in the NBA, it takes a lot of effort,” head coach Brad Stevens said on a postgame video conference.
Boston lost all three contests against Brooklyn this season despite the Nets not having all three stars in any one of those games. The Nets were without Harden in a 123-95 win, didn’t have Durant in a 121-109 win and didn’t have Durant or Harden in a 109-105 victory.
“We’ll get ready for Brooklyn starting on Thursday when we get back together,” Stevens said. “We know that challenge is, those guys are the best of the best. Going into that, if I’m just a general fan of the NBA, I have a hard time seeing them lose. We’re going to have to play great. We’re going to have to play great together. And we’re going to have to be really, really sound on both ends of the floor.”
Kemba Walker added: “We got to play hard, man. Those guys are super talented, one of the better teams in our league. Obviously, have great players. … We’re going to really just lock in and figure out ways where we can have an advantage.
Celtics-Nets will kick off Saturday night in Brooklyn.