The first signature moment of the 2022 NBA Playoffs was delivered by a Duke basketball star.
There is no ‘One Shining Moment’ in the NBA Playoffs like there is in the NCAA Tournament, but Jayson Tatum, the former Duke basketball superstar, did not waste any time in delivering the first signature moment of the chaotic month.
Perhaps the most anticipated series of the Opening Round of the NBA Playoffs features the No. 2 seed Boston Celtics and the No. 7 seed Brooklyn Nets.
The storylines wrote themselves, and those storylines delivered in Game 1 of the series.
Kyrie Irving battled the raucous Boston fanbase but was sensational on the court.
However, it was the other Blue Devil that had the last laugh.
Irving gave the Nets a three-point lead, 114-111, with a step-back 3-pointer with 45.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter before the Celtics began to chip away.
Jaylen Brown cut the Boston deficit to one on the following possession. And the Celtics played suffocating defense after a Brooklyn timeout, which led to a missed 3-pointer by Kevin Durant and a Celtic rebound.
Boston elected not to use a timeout, and a chaotic final possession ensued.
Or that’s what it looked like from afar.
Brown aimlessly drove the baseline before kicking out to Marcus Smart, who faked a shot, saw a cutting Jayson Tatum, and celebrated.
Tatum caught the pass with 1.5 seconds left, spun, and made the layup in one motion, giving the Celtics the 1-0 series lead as pandemonium followed at TD Garden.
Duke basketball forward takes spotlight away from former Blue Devil
The focus for the entire game had been on Kyrie Irving and his demonstrations to the fans before Jayson Tatum’s final shot.
Irving finished with 39 points, five rebounds, and six assists on 12-of-20 shooting from the floor, 6-of-10 from 3-point range, and 9-for-9 from the free throw line in the 115-114 loss. Meanwhile, former Blue Devil Seth Curry only added nine points in the losing effort for the Nets.
Tatum, however, had 31 points of his own on 9-of-18 shooting yet only 3-of-7 from downtown.
The Game 1 hero also had four rebounds and eight rebounds and went 10-of-12 from the charity stripe.
Boston and Brooklyn will continue their series on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. EST on TNT.