Jayson Tatum was stunned, yet certain. He disagreed with his sixth foul but had no doubt the Boston Celtics, with their rock-solid defense, would hold on without their scoring star.
Tatum scored 29 points, Jaylen Brown had 22 and the Celtics completed a four-game sweep of the Brooklyn Nets, becoming the first team to reach the second round of the playoffs with a 116-112 victory Monday night.
Marcus Smart added 20 points and 11 assists for the No. 2-seeded Celtics, who made easy work of what was thought could be a tough series. Boston will wait for the winner of the series between Milwaukee and Chicago, where the defending champion Bucks hold a 3-1 lead.
The Celtics showed no fear of the Nets, who with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving didn’t have the profile of the typical low seed. Boston won on the final day of the regular season instead of losing to fall down the standings and avoid the matchup.
Durant had 39 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, breaking free after the Celtics had defended him well in the first three games. But he couldn’t get the Nets the win they needed to extend what instead goes down as a massive failure of a season.