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The Brooklyn Nets outlasted the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA play-in tournament 115-108 to capture the No. 7 seed on Tuesday night and will have a tough first-round matchup against the Boston Celtics.
The Nets-Celtics series will be a repeat of last year’s first-round playoff series. Brooklyn won that game in a series that was highlighted by Kyrie Irving revving up the rivalry between the two teams and Jaylen Brown being out because of an injury.
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While Brooklyn won behind Irving’s 34 points and 12 assists and Kevin Durant’s 25 points and 11 assists, Charles Barkley expressed his doubts during a TNT broadcast about the Nets’ chances.
“There’s no way they can beat the Celtics,” Barkley said. “They got two great players. They both actually played as good as they probably can play. Kevin Durant was fabulous with his passing and his defense. Kyrie was great. But other than that, I know they can’t beat the Celtics.
KYRIE IRVING, KEVIN DURANT LEAD NETS PAST CAVS IN PLAY-IN FOR NO. 7 SEED
“All these fools on all these morning talk shows can let this ship sail. Both of those guys played great, great, and they barely beat a mediocre Cavs team.”
Boston has been one of the best teams in the league over the course of the season. The team finished No. 2 in the Eastern Conference with a 51-31 record. Since the start of February, Boston was 24-6. The team also finished second in point differential.
The Celtics will likely be without Robert Williams III for the first round, which is a big loss on the defensive side. But having Brown in the lineup will add a big boost on offense, something the team didn’t have in last year’s playoff matchup.
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The series will begin Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.