Australia’s Ben Simmons could be the last best hope to keep the Brooklyn Nets’ in the NBA playoffs after the Boston Celtics took a 3-0 lead in their first-round series with a 109-103 victory.
Coach Steve Nash said it’s possible Simmons plays in Game 4 but cautioned that given his long layoff, with his herniated disc at the end of it, there was more to consider than if the Australian felt good after his workouts.
“There’s a lot of bigger picture, bigger context to how he’s feeling, how able he would be to adapt to the environment,” Nash said.
“It’s a little different than playing a game that’s stashed away in the middle of the regular season, so I think that there’s a few factors at play here to evaluate when he’s ready to play.”
Boston’s Jayson Tatum scored 39 points while Jaylen Brown had 23 in another dominant performance for Boston.
Also making things difficult were Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving with their suffocating defence, which helped the Celtics put themselves in position to sweep their way into the second round with a road victory Monday night.
A loud “Let’s Go Celtics! Let’s Go Celtics!” chant broke out in the final minutes from the many fans in green who had seats in Barclays Center.
There wasn’t much for the home fans to cheer about with history also against Brooklyn. No team has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win an NBA play-offs series.
The Nets face a team that just won’t let them get anything going.
Durant took only 11 shots, finishing with 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
Irving was 6 for 17 and also had 16 points for the Nets, who have to decide if they will give Simmons his team debut in the elimination game.
Boomers guard Patty Mills added 12 points off the bench to help the Nets cut it to three points with about a minute remaining in the third quarter.
But that was as close as the hosts would get.