Playoffs 2021

NBA Playoffs 2021: Jayson Tatum erupts for 50 points as Celtics hit back against Nets to win Game 3

The Boston Celtics are back in the series!

Behind Jayson Tatum's playoff career-high 50 points, the Celtics held on to beat the Brooklyn Nets 125-119 in Game 3 to get their first win in the series.

After trailing 19-4 in the first quarter, the Celtics stormed back into the game to lead by as many as 17 points before hanging on to cut the series deficit to 2-1.

Let's jump into the key takeaways at the buzzer:

Tatum's career night

Coming off a nine-point performance in Game 2, Jayson Tatum was all business in front of the TD Garden crowd, exploding for 50 points - his fourth 50-point game of the season.

The 23-year-old added seven assists, six rebounds, and two steals 16-of-30 from the field, 5-of-11 from deep and 13-of-15 at the free-throw line, putting himself alongside some legendary Celtics in the process.

Tatum put his full offensive arsenal on display, with a combination of drives to the rim, step-back jumpers and 3-pointers keeping the Nets defence guessing.

His fadeaway jumper in the third quarter gave the Celtics their biggest lead of the game at 17 points as he poured in 19 points in the period, before adding 10 in the final frame, including the dagger of Kevin Durant to extend the lead to seven points with 40 seconds remaining.

Smart doing Smart things

Marcus Smart played Robin to Tatum's Batman, dropping 23 points and six assists in the win.

He played a pivotal role dragging the Celtics back into the game in the first quarter, scoring 11 of his 23 in the opening period, giving the Celtics the lead for good with this triple at the end of the quarter.

Harden and KD make history

While Tatum was getting buckets for the Celtics, Kevin Durant and James Harden were doing the same for the Nets.

Harden poured in 41 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds, while Durant added 39 points, nine rebounds, and four steals, becoming the second set of teammates in Nets playoff history to score 30+ points in same game, per Nets PR .

Harden also became the first Net player with a 40p/10a playoff game in franchise history.

Kyrie's return to Boston

Kyrie Irving returned to TD Garden and was welcomed with boos from the home crowd from the jump and nearly every time he touched the ball.

He couldn't find his rhythm, deferring to teammates and struggling to knock down shots, finishing with 16 points on 16 on 6-of-17 shooting.

Celtics take the fight inside

With the Nets going small, starting Blake Griffin at the five, Tristan Thompson made them pay with his activity in the paint.

He hauled in 13 rebounds, with nine coming on the offensive end to go with 19 points on an efficient 8-of-13 shooting, met with little resistance in the key.

Boston outrebounded Brooklyn, 46-37 and edged them in points in the paint, 36-30.

What's next?

The Celtics will look to level the series on their home floor in Game 4, scheduled for Sunday, May 30 at 7:00 p.m. ET.

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