The Brooklyn Nets' Bruce Brown, right, puts up a shot...

The Brooklyn Nets' Bruce Brown, right, puts up a shot takes a shot under pressure from the Boston Celtics' Al Horford (42) during the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference first-round playoff series at TD Garden on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, in Boston. The Celtics won, 114-107, for a 2-0 series lead. Credit: TNS/Maddie Meyer

BOSTON — For all of the studying, the film work and the practice sessions the Nets and Celtics had gone through in preparation for Sunday’s Game 1, it all came down to playground instincts replacing the carefully crafted game plan on one final play.

When Al Horford pulled down the rebound with 15 seconds to play and the Celtics trailing by one, there was no panicked call for a timeout from Boston first-year coach Ime Udoka. Instead, he put his trust in his players to find a way with the game on the line. His trust was rewarded with a 115-114 win.

Horford passed it to Derrick White, who threw it ahead to Jaylen Brown. Brown slashed past Goran Dragic, but as he got to the rim, he kicked it out to Marcus Smart on the far side outside the three-point line.

Catching it with four seconds left, Smart faked, and as Bruce Brown and Nic Claxton flew past him, he took one dribble, split the defenders and passed to Jayson Tatum, who had sneaked past Kevin Durant, caught watching the ball. Tatum corralled it with less than two seconds left, spun around Kyrie Irving and banked in the game-winning shot as time expired.

“First off, you’ve got to credit Ime for trusting us in that situation with one timeout to just go,” Smart said. “And you’ve got to give credit to JB [Brown] pushing the pace, drawing four, and then making the right read. Then of course me.

“I’ve always been told you have more time than you realize you have. So when I caught the ball, if I was open, I was going to shoot it. And I seen two guys flying, so I took a pump fake. Actually, I was about to throw it to Al off the dribble and I saw JT cut at the last minute and just wanted to get the easiest shot we can, as close as we can to the basket. So I found JT, he made a great play to get the ball off the glass and finish it before the game was over.”

Said Udoka: “I tell the guys all the time if we have an advantageous position we’re in, I won’t call a timeout, and if I don’t like what I see, I’ll call it then. But as you know, teams will get matched up against the lineups they want in the game. Jaylen had Dragic on him and I loved what he did, drove, drew three people, kicked it to Marcus, and we got a wide-open shot. So we talk about it all the time: If I don’t like what I can see, I can still call the timeout and draw something up with a few seconds left.”

As complex as the play may seem in print, it was a wild flurry of motion that caught the Nets a step behind at every turn. They were left to find their way to the locker room knowing that a chance to steal Game 1 had passed them by.

“At that point, it’s a little bit random,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “They pushed it and instead of calling a timeout, I think we took away the first action with Brown. Went to Smart. I thought we were intelligent on that side of the action but he got in a crack and somehow found Tatum, who made an intelligent cut.

“Split-second here or there and the game goes the other way.”

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