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Kyrie Irving: There's 'nothing like' delivering for Boston Celtics in the playoffs

Kyrie Irving dropped 37 points while Jayson Tatum hit 26 in the playoff win over the Indiana Pacers.

KYRIE IRVING SCORED 37 points as the Boston Celtics staged a fourth quarter comeback to defeat the Indiana Pacers 99-91 and take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference NBA playoff series on Wednesday.

NBA: Playoffs-Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

The Pacers appeared to be closing in on a series-levelling victory after taking an 11-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

But some superb shot-making from Irving and a 26-point display from Jayson Tatum helped Boston outscore the Pacers by 31-12 in the final quarter to seal a roller-coaster win at the Celtics’ TD Garden home.

The win puts the Celtics firmly in control of the best-of-seven series as the two sides head to Indianapolis for game three on Friday.

Irving warned his Celtics team-mates against complacency over the remainder of the series following Wednesday’s win.

“Tonight gives us confidence but anything can happen on the road,” Irving said. “We’ve got to go to Indiana, a tough place to play, and be ready for whatever. It’s going to be a war out there. We understand the type of team we’re playing against. It’s a series for a reason.”

NBA: Playoffs-Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics Irving drives to the basket against the Pacers. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

The 27-year-old point guard said the Celtics never-say-die approach had helped them transform Wednesday’s game into a win.

“It’s just staying resilient, understanding that we’re never out of this game,” Irving said. “It’s the playoffs, anything can happen.

“I tell the guys all the time, we’ve got to stay communicative and do the little things in order to get the win.”

Gordon Hayward had 13 points and five rebounds off the bench as the Celtics punished a disastrous Pacers display in the final period.

Irving, who finished with six rebounds and seven assists in addition to his points tally, said he felt his game-winning represented the end of a “long journey” back from injury.

Source: ESPN/YouTube

The former Cleveland Cavaliers star is playing for the Celtics in the playoffs for the first time in this series, having been ruled out of the postseason with a knee issue in his first year in Boston in 2017-18.

This performance was a long time coming for the 27-year-old and he said there was “nothing like” the feeling of turning it on for Boston.

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“It was pretty peaceful. I’m just happy to be able to be part of a lineage of great players that have put on some unbelievable performances here in the TD [Garden] as well as the old Garden.

It’s really special to know that the fans here are rooting us on. They want everything to be perfect – it’s not the reality of the game, but we do our best to go out there and lay it all out there on the line.

“We throw ourselves into the game and hope for some great results. You’ve got to have some honest resolve.

“It felt good, good to be here in this position, playing in this arena. It’s been a long journey from having those two knee surgeries and watching the team last year.

“Now I’m finally getting the chance to lay some up for the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs. There’s nothing like it.”

The Pacers shot only four of 17 from the field in the fourth quarter, and coughed up two vital turnovers in the final 15 seconds to gift Boston victory.

Bojan Bogdanovic led the scoring with 23 points for Indiana, with Thaddeus Young (15 points), Darren Collison (13) and Tyreke Evans (13) the other Pacers players to make double figures.

Source: ESPN/YouTube

Elsewhere Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks surged into a 2-0 lead in their series against the Detroit Pistons with a crushing 120-99 win in game two. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo led another dominant display from Milwaukee, who saw four players go into double digits against an overpowered Pistons line-up. 

Greek star Antetokounmpo anchored the Bucks win with 26 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. 

Eric Bledsoe added 27 points while Khris Middleton finished with 24 points. Pat Connaughton scored 18 off the bench.

Detroit were effectively shut down, with Luke Kennard top-scoring with 19 points.

Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets lead 2-0 in their series against the Utah Jazz after James Harden scored a 32-point triple-double in last night’s blowout victory.

Wednesday’s results

Boston Celtics 99-91 Indiana Pacers
Milwaukee Bucks 120-99 Detroit Pistons
Houston Rockets 118-98 Utah Jazz

Source: ESPN/YouTube

© – AFP, 2019   

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