Harris red-hot from distance as Nets beat down Celtics to take 2-0 series lead

Joe Harris Nets
May 25, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets small forward Joe Harris (12) reacts after a three point shot against Boston Celtics shooting guard Evan Fournier (94) during the first quarter of game two of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, the rest of this first-round series between the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics is just a formality. 

The Nets dismantled the Celtics 130-108 on Tuesday night in Game 2 to take a 2-0 series lead — putting together the kind of complete game they were looking for after Game 1. 

Kevin Durant led the Nets for a second-straight game with 26 points and eight rebounds while Joe Harris added 25, shooting 7-of-10 from three-point range. Harris’ seven three-pointers tied a Nets postseason franchise record.

“Just feeling the game,” Harris told YES Network. “Obviously [Durant], Kyrie, James were facilitating. I’m just out there to help create space. They were finding me… I had a lot of room and rhythm looks early.”

The other members of Brooklyn’s ‘Big 3’ in James Harden and Kyrie Irving recorded 20 and 15 points respectively.

More importantly, none of the Nets’ starting five played over 29 minutes on Tuesday night as a blowout from the get-go allowed head coach Steve Nash to preserve his stars. 

The Nets dropped nearly as many points in the first quarter, 40, as the Celtics recorded in the entire first half (47). Harris fueled Brooklyn’s hot start in the opening 24 minutes, dropping 22 points on 6-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc.

Eleven of those points came in the first quarter as a part of a Nets’ 15-0 run that immediately put the Celtics out of sight in Game 2, as the visitors once again had their hands full with Brooklyn’s suddenly-imposing defense. 

Not a single Celtic recorded 20 points on Tuesday night while as a team, they were held to 42.4% shooting from the field.

“I think early on, defense turned into offense for us,” Harris said. “We were spreading the floor, making the extra pass, and we were really efficient offensively.”

Considering how sharp the Nets are and how disinterested the Celtics have looked, this could very well have been the last game of the series played at Barclays Center. The series shifts to Boston for Games 3 and 4, the first on Friday night where a sweep looks almost imminent. 

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