Jayson Tatum scored a playoff career-high 50 points to carry the Boston Celtics back into their series against the Brooklyn Nets with a 125-119 victory Friday night in Game 3.
In an emotionally charged atmosphere with the fans booing and chanting at former Celtics star Kyrie Irving every time he was involved in something, Tatum displayed an array of drives, step-back jumpers and 3-pointers to cut the Nets’ lead to 2-1.
After scoring 50 points in Boston’s play-in tournament victory, Tatum struggled in the two games in Brooklyn but steadied the Celtics in Game 3 after the Nets shot out to a quick 15-point lead.
It was Irving’s first game in front of Boston’s fans since he left via free agency in 2019.
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James Harden led the Nets with 41 points, Kevin Durant had 39 and Irving finished with 16 on 6-of-17 shooting.
Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is set for Sunday night in Boston, where the Celtics will be allowed to have a near-capacity crowd in TD Garden when Massachusetts lifts the limits Saturday on crowd sizes due to the pandemic. It was limited to 25% on Friday.
Marcus Smart added 23 points for the Celtics, Tristan Thompson gave them a huge lift with 19 points and 13 rebounds and Evan Fournier added 17 points. Kemba Walker had a rough night, scoring only six on 3-of-14 shooting.