Flat. Round. Octagon.
It doesn’t matter.
This is Kyrie Irving’s world, one in which he can do some pretty amazing things like lead the Boston Celtics to an improbable comeback that finally ended with a 110-102 overtime win for Boston.
Irving delivered as near-flawless a game scoring the ball as we’ve seen since he became a Boston Celtic.
He finished with a game-high 47 points, which included 10 in overtime as the Celtics (16-2) extended their winning to 16 straight which ties the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history.
Jumpers. 3-pointers. Lay-ups.
Irving gave the Celtics anything and everything they needed down the stretch for what might have been the toughest win for them during this amazing stretch of success.
We have seen the Celtics blaze their way down the comeback trail before, and Monday was no exception. They closed out the fourth quarter with a 17-7 run over the final 5:22 to force the overtime session.
Boston led for most of the first half, but Dallas opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run to lead 58-53, and continued to surge ahead before the third finally ended with the Mavericks pulling ahead to the fourth quarter with a 77-69 lead.
The Mavericks continued to control the game for most of the fourth quarter and took their first double-digit lead, 83-72, following a driving lay-up by Yogi Ferrell which led to Brad Stevens calling a time-out with 9:19 to play.
Boston’s struggles in the second half were in sharp contrast to what the Celtics were able to do in the first two quarters.
The Celtics went on a 25-8 run in the first quarter which set the tone for the C's 34-22 lead at the end of the first.
Boston went to its bench and they did what we’ve seen them do a lot this season, missing a bunch of wide open to lightly contested shots from the field.
Stevens has been looking for them to develop some kind of flow offensively, and probably kept them on the floor longer than he should have.
Boston’s double-digit lead was all but wiped out in the second quarter, with the Mavericks coming within 44-43 following a 3-poiner by Wesley Matthews. The Celtics managed to take a slimmer-than-expected 53-49 lead into the half.
BOSTON – The days of playing short-handed continue for the Boston Celtics who will be without at least one all-star when they host the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.
The Celtics announced on Tuesday that Al Horford (rest) will not play. A knee collision with Detroit’s Anthony Tolliver on Sunday made Horford a game-time decision prior to Boston’s 108-85 loss at Chicago on Monday. Horford played but like most of his teammates, didn’t play as well as he would have liked before finishing with 15 points, four rebounds and five assists which included him missing all four of his 3-point attempts.
Kyrie Irving is probable with a quad injury that kept him out of the Bulls loss.
Marcus Morris (left knee) will miss his third straight game (14th this season) and remains out indefinitely. Also, Gordon Hayward (left ankle fracture) remains out although he may get some good news tomorrow.
BOSTON -- The timetable for Gordon Hayward’s return to the court hasn’t changed as far as the Celtics are concerned.
But try telling that to Hayward, who may be out of his walking boot for good very soon -- like tomorrow soon.
C's coach Brad Stevens gave an update on Hayward’s status in an interview with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski for Krzyzewski’s SiriusXM show, “Basketball & Beyond with Coach K,” which will air Thursday at 6 p.m. ET (SiriusXM channel 84).
“He’s going to the doctor [Wednesday] to potentially get out of his walking boot for good, which he’s jacked about,” Stevens said.
Stevens and Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, have reiterated how aggressive Hayward has been in attacking his rehab since suffering a dislocated left ankle injury in the season opener at Cleveland on October 17.
“He is literally in the weight room as we speak,” Stevens said. “Does all the training table [work], just like our guys. Has his own shooting time even when he was in a boot, sitting in a chair. He had his own shooting time and had his own lifting time, just like all our players do before practice.”
From the very outset, Stevens and the Celtics have made keeping Hayward as involved as possible a priority.
But Stevens is quick to caution that while Hayward is making good progress, the Celtics are still proceeding forward as though they will not have him back until next season.
“His status is, the way that we’ve looked at it the whole time is, we don’t expect him back this year,” Stevens said. “But he shoots for all of his goals, week to week, day to day, to try to expedite it as much as he can. He obviously wants to be back, like any athlete, as soon as he can.”
Hayward signed a four-year, $127.8 million contract with the Celtics this summer after spending his first seven NBA seasons with the Utah Jazz. Boston was awarded an $8.4 million disabled player exception for Hayward's injury, the largest DPE ever. Boston was awarded the exception in part because independent doctors determined that it’s “likely” that Hayward will not be able to return prior to June 15.
However, Boston will still keep the DPE until it expires (March 10, 2018) even if Hayward returns sooner than expected.