Celtics

Danny Ainge shares potential timelines for Aron Baynes, Gordon Hayward

Danny Ainge shares potential timelines for Aron Baynes, Gordon Hayward

The Boston Celtics were down a key reserve for Wednesday night's showdown with the Philadelphia 76ers and lost another important player during the game.

But Danny Ainge seems optimistic about both players' injuries.

The Celtics' president of basketball operations first shared an update Thursday morning on big man Aron Baynes, who suffered a Grade 2 ankle sprain Wednesday night in Boston's loss to Philly.

"I don't know. It's day-to-day," Ainge said during his weekly interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich." "I don't think it was a terribly bad ankle sprain. I don't think it's going to be three weeks, but I think that it's just a day-to-day injury.

"We'll obviously be careful. We need everybody healthy by playoffs."

While Ainge didn't offer a specific timeline, it's good news that he believes Baynes' injury is more day-to-day. NBC Sports Boston's Chris Forsberg provided some historical context for the big man's sprained ankle Wednesday night, and with Boston's final regular season game still 18 days away, it's certainly possible Baynes returns for the playoffs.

Ainge also had positive news about forward Gordon Hayward, who is in the NBA's concussion protocol after taking a shot to the head Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks.

"I did speak with Gordon, and it looks like Gordon is getting well and he's going through the protocol," Ainge said Thursday. "So, my guess is he'll either play Saturday or Sunday. He'll play this weekend; I'm not exactly sure when he'll play."

Getting Hayward back for Saturday's game in Charlotte or Sunday's home contest against the San Antonio Spurs obviously would benefit the Celtics, who now have lost two straight as they jockey for playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

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Breakfast Pod: Bruins and Celtics come away with big playoff victories

Breakfast Pod: Bruins and Celtics come away with big playoff victories

A Game 2 victory for the Celtics over the Pacers sends Boston to Indy up, 2-0; a Game 4 win for the Bruins in Toronto sends them home with their series tied at 2.

1:10:  Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine break down the Celtics huge 4th quarter in their 99-91 win over the Pacers in Game 2 and we hear from Jayson Tatum after the game.

6:41: Then we have the Bruins, who took a pivotal Game 4 up in Toronto, 6-4. Michael Felger and Tony Amonte discuss David Pastrnak’s two-goal performance and what else contributed to the win.

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Kyrie Irving: 'There’s nothing like' playoff basketball in Boston

Kyrie Irving: 'There’s nothing like' playoff basketball in Boston

BOSTON — Back in February, after an embarrassing loss in Chicago, Kyrie Irving suggested the Celtics would be just fine in the playoffs. Asked for a reason, he replied, “Because I’m here.”

It seemed potentially overconfident in the moment but nights like Wednesday's Game 2 victory over the Indiana Pacers suggest, maybe just maybe, Irving was on to something.

Irving scored a game-high 37 points while connecting on 15 of 26 shots in Boston’s 99-91 triumph at TD Garden. The Celtics lead the best-of-seven series 2-0 as it shifts to Indiana for Game 3 Friday and Game 4 Sunday. 

Maybe the most astounding part of Irving’s night: He attempted only two free throws (limiting his “MVP!” chants to one session). Irving connected on six of the 10 3-pointers he hoisted overall.

It was a dazzling offensive display replete with some big-time shot-making. While the Celtics needed multiple players on their roster to step up during Wednesday’s rally from a fourth-quarter, double-digit deficit — and Terry Rozier provided a big boost, particularly early in the fourth quarter while Irving got a breather — Irving repeatedly came up with must-have baskets in a game where Irving accounted for 37.5 percent of his team’s total field goals.

Irving is no stranger to big games in Boston, alas most in the playoffs came as a member of the Cavaliers. So what's it like now, a year after missing the postseason due to a pair of knee surgeries, for Irving to be starring in a Celtics uniform?

“It’s pretty peaceful,” said Irving. "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 as well as in the old Garden. 

"It’s really special to know that the fans here, they’re rooting us on and they want everything to be perfect. It’s just not the reality of the game, but we do our best to go out there and really lay it all out on the line. We throw ourselves into the game and we hope for some great results. So we’ve just gotta have some just honest resolve. But it felt good to be here in this position, playing in this arena.”

While Irving’s mood this season has often hinged on the play of the team, it’s clear he’s enjoying the early stages of Boston’s postseason stay. For all the frustrations of the regular season, Irving’s wait-for-the-playoffs proclamation looks a bit prescient at the moment.

"It’s just been a long journey, having those two knee surgeries and watching the team last year,” said Irving. "And finally getting a chance to lace ‘em up for the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs, there’s nothing like it.”

When Irving is cooking like he was on Wednesday night, his teammates know to feed the hot hand.

"Just sit back and watch,” said Jaylen Brown. "Kyrie has the ability to take over games, that’s what makes him special.”

As backup point guard Terry Rozier noted, Boston’s game plan was pretty simple with Irving clicking. Said Rozier: “We let Kyrie be Kyrie.”

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