Celtics break out the brooms, sweep Nets

The Boston Celtics finished off a first round sweep of their divisional foe, the Brooklyn Nets, Monday night after a 116-112 win at the Barclays Center.

The series is Boston’s 14th sweep in franchise history and the first since the Celtics opening round sweep in the 2020 playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers. There have been no other first round sweeps in the 2022 playoffs. 

The Celtics were led by the scoring of superstar forward Jayson Tatum who finished with 29 points on 9/16 shooting.

Tatum played most of the second half in foul trouble forcing him to sit for a large portion of the fourth quarter. He fouled out with just under three minutes to play after Brooklyn’s Goran Dragic drew an offensive foul on Tatum, leaving the other Celtics on their own with hopes to close out the series.

In true Celtic fashion, the team stepped up when it was closing time behind the triumphant efforts of team veterans Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford.

Brown finished second on the team in scoring with 22 points and Smart behind him, scoring 20 points along with 11 assists. 

Along with the veterans, young players like Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard also stepped up and helped the Celtics off the bench.

“We knew what we were capable of, we knew what we wanted to come in here and do regardless of what anybody else did,” said Smart. “It’s us versus everybody, that’s the mentality we have and that’s the mentality we’re going to keep.”

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka earned his first playoff series win after being hired in June, having  previously served as an assistant on Brooklyn’s coaching staff last season.

Brooklyn, who entered the season as heavy favorites to win the NBA championship, disappointed this season by barely making the playoffs as a seventh seed. Due to their star power of players like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who both missed time during the year, many teams in the playoff race seemed to avoid playing Brooklyn in the playoffs, but not Boston. 

“The overall message that I’m going to give to the team and that they relied back to me is — we’re not scared of anybody, we’re not going to run from anybody,” said Udoka. “If you’re going to win, you’ve got to go through certain teams at certain times anyway, so might as well get a really good test early, and I think it’ll help us going down the line.”

Joe Nadeau, a Suffolk University junior who is a pre-law major, was excited about Monday night’s win.

“I’m glad that we swept the Nets. I think that we can take this all the way now,” said Nadeau. “That was definitely one of the toughests potential competitors we were going to see.”

The Celtics’ next playoff round will start in Boston as they clinched home court advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

“I’m excited to see what the city of Boston is going to be like when the Celtics come back to play home,” said Nadeau.

Boston will play the eventual winner between the Milwaukee Bucks and Chicago Bulls in the second round of the Eastern conference playoffs. 

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