Celtics, Nets create instant classic

Sports fans often cocoon themselves in the present. Seeing something extraordinary becomes a touchstone for the ages, disregarding anything that happened more than an hour ago.

That includes we who hunt-and-peck reviews of current events.

Sunday’s Celtics win over the Nets needs no excess hyperbole. It really was one of professional basketball’s all-time great exhibitions. The Celtics built a big early lead and Brooklyn melted it down to a halftime tie.

The Celtics built a 15-point lead in the second half were playing with the sort of defensive ferocity that it should have grown, or at least steadied. The Nets bulled their way to take control in the closing minute. Or so it seemed.

Such shorthand does not do it justice, but those who saw it don’t need a detailed recitation of the action.

As for those who chose to watch the Red Sox, or enjoy a few moments of afternoon sunshine, or refused to let the NBA playoffs interrupt Easter, find a way to see this instant classic.

That’s one of the wonderful things about the digital age, right? IF nothing else at least watch the highlights of the closing 45.9 seconds.

It was then that Kyrie Irving hit a 3-pointer to give Brooklyn a 114-111 lead. Perhaps spurred on by the loathing directed to him by the Garden faithful, from his introduction to his stunned gaze after Jayson Tatum’s game-winning layup, Irving scored 39 points, 18 of them in the fourth quarter.

Ever the classy pro, Irving punctuated his biggest points by flipping one, sometimes two, middle fingers to his persecutors. One of the TV yapmeisters suggested that Celtics fans should let it go, it’s been four years since Irving skipped town.

He didn’t even grasp that it wasn’t so much that Irving left but that he did so after pledging that he wouldn’t. Boston fans do not suffer such self-absorbed, insolent fools very well.

Irving has the look of a man-child who simply can’t understand why the world does not adore him for the sheer greatness of his being.

How could 19,000 Celtics fans not shower him with unbridled invective?

That helped make the game’s end so sweet.

With 38.9 seconds left, Jaylen Brown’s driving layup make it 114-113.

With 12 seconds left, Al Horford snared his 15th rebound of the day, off Kevin Durant’s missed 3. The Celtics took off up the floor. They held onto one of the best unused time outs in NBA lore.

They worked the ball around, with Marcus Smart ultimately faking a 3 and finding Tatu for his triumphant drive.

None of the above does the game justice.

For that, see it for yourself, one way or another.

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