BOSTON – Kyrie Irving dropped 36 points on the Philadelphia 76ers, a key factor in Boston (19-4) adding one more log on to the growing pile of victories this season.
And this game was like so many for Irving who made it look way, way easier than it should have been.
But those who compete with him and play against him realize how talented the 6-foot-3 guard can be, especially in the fourth quarter.
Irving’s fourth-quarter scoring was among the keys to Boston’s 108-97 win over Philadelphia.
In the fourth, Irving had nine points and in doing so, dashed away any hopes the Sixers had of an upset win.
“I mean, I say all the time how spoiled we are to coach players at this level, and he’s certainly one of the most gifted scorers in the game,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said of Irving. “And, you know, he can do things just with a tiny amount of space and make it look easy. And it’s really, really tough. I mean, even the – he made a couple of the one-on-one plays late where he drove it, but even the dribble hand-off shot that he made in the corner, I mean, it was pretty well-defended, and he just has a special ability.”
Said Al Horford: “It’s a luxury. Not a lot of teams have that. Just his (Irving) will to win and make those shots, when we need it most, just keeps impressing me game by game.”
Here are the other Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 108-97 win over Philadelphia which improves Boston’s record to a league-best 19-4.
When it was winning time, Kyrie Irving once again came through when the Celtics needed him most. He led all scorers with 36 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.
The Sixers were no match for Al Horford whose contributions on Thursday night were everywhere to be seen. He finished with a near double-double of 21 points, eight rebounds in addition to dishing out five assists along with two blocked shots.
With Joel Embiid (rest) out for tonight’s game, the Sixers leaned heavily on Saric who was last season’s runner-up for Rookie of the Year. He had a double-double for Philly, tallying a team-high 18 points to go with 10 rebounds and four assists.
The 6-foot-10 “point forward” has triple-double potential every time he steps on the floor. But the Celtics did a decent job of limiting his effectiveness. He had 15 points on 6-for-14 shooting, to go with six rebounds and seven assists. He had a game-high five steals but he also had five turnovers which also led all players on Thursday.
Remember, if Gordon Hayward (ankle) had not suffered a season-ending injury, Morris would be coming off the bench every night for Boston. And that folks, would be a very good thing. Philadelphia had matchup problems with the 6-9 Morris most of the night, which led to him scoring 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting to go with five rebounds, three assists and a steal.
One of the best shooters of this generation, it was just a matter of time before shots started to fall for Redick. He scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half which included him finishing the game 4-for-6 from 3-point range while grabbing three rebounds to go with five assists.
He played less than 20 minutes, but his activity around the rim was a major factor in Philadelphia holding their own with the Celtics for most of the game. He finished with nine points on 4-for-7 shooting to go with seven rebounds (three offensive).
There are going to be nights when no matter how hard you try, it’s just not going to be your night. That’s how things played out for Jaylen Brown tonight. He missed five of his six shots from the field and finished with just two points. In addition, Brown was the only Celtics player to finish the game with a negative (-9) plus/minus for the game.