Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum strutted into the tunnel at TD Garden, raising both arms elatedly as adoring fans belted shrieks of joy celebrating his cutting layup at the buzzer of Boston’s 115-114 win over Brooklyn.

That play leads off our five takeaways as we try to catch our breath in anticipation of Wednesday’s Game 2 at TD Garden:

All but one player (Daniel Theis) in Boston’s starting lineup — which combined for 98 points by the way — scored at least 20 points, led by Tatum, who poured in a team-high 31 points (9-18 FGs).

Nobody ever truly stops Kevin Durant, but Boston slowed him down enough to take Game 1 by essentially throwing the kitchen sink at him early, which likely affected his ability to get into a rhythm later in the contest.

It’s playoff basketball. So, naturally, increased physicality accompanies it, along with loose whistles from a tightly-officiated game in the first half. Just three minutes into this one, Brooklyn had already racked up four team fouls — with Seth Curry being called for two within that span. 

Booed and provoked at every turn, Irving blocked out the noise and balled to the tune of a game-high 39 points that included him racking up 18 in the fourth quarter, which registers as the second-best scoring production in any quarter of his postseason career.

Nic Claxton earned that title for Brooklyn, flexing athleticism and versatility in scoring 13 points off the bench in a quality 30 minutes. Claxton gobbled up eight rebounds (six on the defensive glass) and blocked three shots, shooting 6-for-8 from the floor, in addition to giving Boston fits with his putbacks and defense. 

Yes, the Celtics dominated Brooklyn in paint scoring (56-32), but Claxton provided most of the Nets’ presence inside.