Off-peak times oblige, TrashTalk has taken the habit each summer of making you relive with emotion the greatest moments of the past season. Even in 2021, moreover, despite a summer that had then put all of our vital forces in PLS, but that’s another story. So we go back to our good old formula, we take a few steps back, a few months, and we remember that this 2021-22 season was crazy, from the first day to the last. Today ? We come back to one of the craziest meetings of the last NBA Playoffs. Boston versus Brooklyn, Game 1 of the first round, featuring Jayson Tatum.
It was the most anticipated poster of the first round of the 2022 Playoffs. The kind of poster that looks like a conference final but which – for vaccine reasons (among others) – takes place as early as mid-April. On the one hand, the Boston Celtics of Jayson Tatum, authors of a maddening second half of the season and full of confidence when approaching the postseason in their costume as the second best team in the East. On the other, the Brooklyn Nets, forced to go through the play-in tournament box to qualify for the Playoffs but carried by two of the best attackers on the planet: Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. We had an easier opponent for a team ranked #2 but unlike others, Ime Udoka’s men are not the type to avoid big challenges. They want to take them head-on. And that’s going to give us an absolutely memorable first game at TD Garden.
Sunday April 17, 2022, Game 1, Boston. It’s 9:30 p.m. in France, the perfect time to enjoy an NBA basketball game without being completely stoned on Monday morning. And not only the poster is very beautiful, but in addition the return of Irving in the hall of the Celtics gives spice to the meeting. Between the deafening whistles of C’S fans every time Uncle Drew touches the ball, and the middle fingers that Kyrie sends more or less discreetly to his former supporters, we have a match within a match which increases the tension in the higher level. During this time ? Jayson Tatum confirms the new dimension he took during the regular season. Sometimes playmaker, sometimes scorer, and present in defense to make life difficult for Kevin Durant, JT plays a basketball that is in perfect continuity with his second part of the season caliber MVP. Nevertheless, despite the gap that manages to dig Boston under his leadership in the third quarter, Brooklyn does not let go. And it is Kyrie, as at the time of his passage to the Celtics, who makes the TD Garden his garden by chaining the strings in the money time. Uncle Drew’s fourth quarter? 18 points at 7/9 shooting, including the banderilla which gives the Nets a three-point lead with 46 seconds remaining. The cold snap is violent for the Boston fanbase.
But the Garden will quickly heat up. Jaylen Brown quickly put the Celtics at -1 by gently clearing Bruce Brown out of his way, then a failure from Durant – in the tough all evening against Boston’s huge defense – gave the Greens a match point. The following ? It’s just below.
JAYSON TATUM BUZZER BEATER FOR THE WIN 😱 pic.twitter.com/Y8Rf2CDTeN
—ESPN (@espn) April 17, 2022
On a final possession perfectly managed by Boston, Jayson Tatum (31 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks in the game) crucifies the Nets, passing in the back of KD before releasing a spin on Kyrie then the lay-up of the win. The room explodes, the New Yorkers are KO standing. It’s Tatum’s first career buzzer beater and – incredible but true – the first buzzer in a Playoffs home game in the Celtics’ (very storied) history. In short, a special moment that launches Boston’s 2022 postseason in the best possible way. And that of JT at the same time.
Following this game-winner harbinger of things to come, the Celtics will sweep the Nets 4-0 under the impetus in particular of a Tatum in the oven and the mill and big winner of his duel against KD. Boston will then dismiss the defending champion from Milwaukee in seven games, again with a monumental JT when saving his family (46 points in Game 6 while the Bucks led 3-2), to then qualify for the NBA Finals beating Miami 4-3. A magnificent course for a Boston team which had a balance sheet… negative halfway through the regular season. And while the Celtics (and Tatum in particular) will eventually crack the Warriors’ champion DNA, this run may represent the first step toward an 18th league banner. Especially if Tatum goes one step further next season.
This Game 1 between Boston and Brooklyn will be clearly remembered. But you can’t help but play the what-if game, especially when you know everything that happened after for the Celtics, and especially for the Nets. And if Jayson Tatum had not put this buzzer beater? How would the series have evolved with Brooklyn taking the lead 1-0? Questions that will never be answered, adding a dose of mystery to an already epic moment.