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. The defending champion Bucks hold a 3-1 lead in that series, The Associated Press reported.
Kevin 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.
Expected to be an NBA Finals contender, the Nets needed a strong finish just to grab the No. 7 seed.
Seth Curry scored 23 points for the Nets. Kyrie Irving, whose unavailability for home games much of the season because he isn't vaccinated against the coronavirus contributed to the Nets performing so far below expectations, had 20 points.
“A lot of stuff that may factor into why we lose, but they were just a better team,” Durant said.
With Durant, Irving and James Harden, the Nets began the season as a team that looked potent enough to win their first NBA title. But Irving didn't play at all to begin the season, and not long after he came back playing road games only, Harden became unhappy and the Nets dealt him to Philadelphia in a trade for Ben Simmons.
Irving said his emotions were “disappointment, a little sadness, because we didn’t play as well as a team as we wanted to.”
Raptors, Mavs win
Pascal Siakam had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Precious Achiuwa scored 17 and the Toronto Raptors forced a return home for Game 6 in their Eastern Conference first-round series against Philadelphia, beating the 76ers 103-88 on Monday night.
The Raptors have won two straight in the series and jumped all over injured Sixers center Joel Embiid and ineffective Harden to make Thursday night's game a necessity.
Embiid had 20 points and 11 rebounds playing with a thumb injury. Harden scored 15 points on 4-of-11 shooting.
OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. each scored 16 points for the Raptors.
Elsewhere, Luka Doncic had 33 points and 13 rebounds in his first home playoff game coming off a calf injury and the Dallas Mavericks routed the Utah Jazz 102-77 for a 3-2 lead in their playoff series.
Doncic made his series debut in Game 4 at Utah, when the Jazz scored the last five points in the final 31 seconds for a one-point win that evened the series.
Game 6 is Thursday night in Salt Lake City, with the Jazz regaining their formidable home-court edge, but facing the long odds of just 18% of teams winning a series after dropping the fifth game when the teams split the first four.
The Mavericks haven’t advanced in the postseason since winning the 2011 championship. Utah is in the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year, but hasn’t gone past the second round.