AP Photo / John Minchillo
With the Boston Celtics, they separate one victory from sweeping the Brooklyn Nets off the playoffs.
Celtics legend Paul Pierce said on Twitter after Saturday’s 109: 103 win in Game 3 that Jayson Tatum could beat Kevin Durant in the NBA hierarchy:
Paul Pierce @ paulpierce34
I think Jason Tatum may be ahead of Kevin Durant in the NBA hierarchy before our eyes
Tatum had his highest scoring match in the series on Saturday with 39 points shooting 13 of 29. He also had six assists, six wins and five rebounds.
The last possession for the Celtics was Tatum, who stole a pass from Durant and slammed into the ball to give an exclamation point.
NBA and ESPN @ESPNNBA
Jayson Tatum ended the Celtics’ victory with this theft and a straw pic.twitter.com/NPLGkPNt6J
Although the series averages 29.7 points per game, Tatum’s defense on Durant was a story against the Nets. The Celtics star only shot 5 of 16 in the 2nd game, but did so when he clashed with Durant:
Chris Forsberg @ChrisForsberg_
Kevin Durant as he is guarded by Jayson Tatum in Game 2 on NBA watching:
match time 10:33
The Nets were a total of 2-11 FG when Tatum defended them. He influenced the game by defending and creating the game, although he soon suffered.
Durant had only 16 points in the 3rd match with almost as many turns (five) as field goals (six). It was his weakest post-season match since the 2nd game of the 2017 Western Conference final, except when he left the 5th game in 2019. The NBA Finals in the second quarter after tearing Achilles.
While Tatum absolutely deserves credit for his defense work in this series, Durant’s problems can also be attributed to how much he has done since returning from the outcast MCL on March 3.
Nets coach Steve Nash let Duranta play 38.6 minutes per game in the last 19 matches. So far, he has an average of 42.8 minutes in four matches between the play-in tournament and the post-season.
Tatum is undoubtedly rising to a superstar. Due to Durant’s longevity, it’s hard to say that the Celtics striker overcame him in the NBA hierarchy, but Tatum puts together a strong argument based on how the series has evolved so far.