Exhaustion had changed exhilaration by the point the Nets took the court docket for Monday’s fait accompli playoff sport towards the surging Boston Celtics.
The early-season pleasure surrounding the Nets and their glittering roster light via a season’s price of head-butting towards the Murphy’s regulation adage that something that may go fallacious normally will.
Gone, too, had been the packed rows of New York superstar onlookers, like Mary J. Blige, Spike Lee and Aaron Judge, who attended Game 3 at Barclays Center, maybe trusting — regardless of the preponderance of proof of the opposite — that a fast win on Monday would propel the Nets again into the sequence.
Even Ben Simmons, who had stood out from the sideline earlier within the sequence due to his kaleidoscope outfits, was not there.
The Nets followers who attended Monday’s sport appeared subdued, maybe drained from one season that felt like many extra due to the array off-court distractions. Celtics followers, who witnessed their group bear the midseason revitalization that Brooklynites anticipated of the Nets, arrived able to pour salt into festering wounds.
Boston — too cohesive, too prolonged, too tenacious — merely slammed the door on a Nets season derailed from the beginning.
Kyrie Irving missed a lot of the season as a result of he refused to be vaccinated towards the coronavirus. Kevin Durant, bothered by a knee damage, missed greater than a month.
The Nets plummeted with an 11-game shedding streak. James Harden compelled a commerce to Philadelphia that returned, amongst others, Simmons — the centerpiece of the deal who by no means took the court docket.
Often alone shouldering the load all through the season was Durant. During the playoffs, he crafted his greatest efficiency of the sequence on Monday with 39 factors.
But Jayson Tatum’s two-way efficiency all through the sequence neutralized Durant. Boston followers serenaded Tatum with chants of “M-V-P” in Brooklyn earlier than he fouled out on Monday with 2 minutes 48 seconds remaining and the Celtics main by 6 factors. Their last lead was simply 4 factors — simply sufficient for victory. And an excessive amount of for the Nets.
Irving is now in line for a contract extension. Most of the Nets’ veteran rotation gamers are scheduled without spending a dime company. No one is aware of when the injured Simmons will play. But the story of this season could not a lot be the way it ended, however whether or not the Nets’ stars have been left with sufficient to seek out a approach to begin once more.