Celtics

Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum are NBA playoffs' hardest-working scoring duo

Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum are NBA playoffs' hardest-working scoring duo

More than any other sport's postseason, the NBA playoffs are dominated by the game's biggest stars.

That's why Kyrie Irving was so thrilled to be done with the regular season, and why he's elevated his game to drop a total of 55 points in two first-round wins over the Indiana Pacers.

The Celtics' second-best scorer, Jayson Tatum, is hot on Irving's heels, pouring in 26 points in Wednesday's Game 2 victory after adding 15 points in Game 1.

Just how central have Boston's "Big Two" been to the team's 2-0 start to the playoffs? Consider this eye-opening stat:

Per Boston Sports Info, the fellow Duke alums have scored 53.6 percent (98 of 183) of the Celtics' total points in Games 1 and 2. That's a bigger chunk than any other duo in the NBA playoffs, including the Portland Trail Blazers' super-backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum and the Golden State Warriors' feared 1-2 punch of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.

There's some manipulation behind these numbers, of course. Only the Pacers have scored fewer points in these playoffs than the Celtics, meaning there's a smaller slice of the offensive pie to go around. Indeed, Irving and Tatum's combined 98 points ranks a distant fifth in overall scoring among teams' top two scorers.

But Irving and Tatum combining for more than half of Boston's offense is a good sign in the NBA postseason, where teams usually travel as far as their star players carry them.

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Haberstroh: Anthony Davis to Lakers is a 'crushing blow' to Celtics

Haberstroh: Anthony Davis to Lakers is a 'crushing blow' to Celtics

Did the Celtics make a mistake by not overwhelming the Pelicans with an offer for Anthony Davis?

The C's reportedly refused to include forward Jayson Tatum in a deal, so New Orleans opted to roll with the Lakers' lucrative trade package instead. Davis probably would have only been a one-year rental with Boston, but NBC Sports' Tom Haberstroh still believes their failure to acquire Davis is a "crushing blow."

Here's why:

As for the outside teams looking in, this is a crushing blow to the Boston Celtics, who might lose Irving now that Davis is heading West. The Celtics have long believed that trading for Davis would be the best chance in keeping Irving long-term, sources say. But now they’re looking at a revamped 2018 playoff redux with Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading the way with Gordon Hayward back in the driver’s seat.

Assuming Irving doesn't re-sign -- a fair assumption given the Nets rumors flying around -- the Celtics will have to find a way to build around Tatum and Jaylen Brown while hoping Gordon Hayward returns to being Gordon Hayward.

Irving's free agency isn't the only murky situation right now for the C's. Al Horford's contract situation remains up in the air as well, as the veteran big man reportedly remains undecided on his player option for next season.

Time will tell whether the Celtics' decision to not pull the trigger on a Davis trade will be a regrettable one. For now, it'll be interesting to see what Danny Ainge has up his sleeve for a backup plan.

Clint Capela, anyone?

>> Read Haberstroh's full column on the Davis deal here

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Report: Celtics intrigued by Clint Capela, but haven't had any trade talks with Rockets

Report: Celtics intrigued by Clint Capela, but haven't had any trade talks with Rockets

Despite earlier reports indicating that the Celtics engaged the Rockets on trade talks involving Clint Capela, Adam Himmelsbach reported Saturday that while the Celtics are intrigued by the center, they have not talked to Houston about a trade. 

Steve Kyler suggested the Celtics viewed Capela as a backup plan if the Anthony Davis trade fell through, and even though Davis is officially heading to the Lakers, it appears the Celtics aren't as interested as we originally thought. 

There have been reports that the Celtics have had trade talks with the Rockets about their talented young center, Clint Capela, who has four years left on his five-year, $90 million deal. A league source said Saturday that the Celtics are intrigued by Capela, but that the sides have not had any trade talks and that a deal for Capela is unlikely because Boston would not have interest in surrendering the players needed to complete the trade.

Capela is due $16.4 million next season, so for the Celtics to match salary in a deal, they'd have to include a combination of Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown, or have Al Horford opt-in and trade his $30.1 million salary for Capela and a player like Eric Gordon.

These are not the only possibilities for a trade, but it's difficult to construct a deal where Boston isn't giving up the same young pieces it seemingly withheld in Davis negotiations. 

Al Horford is reportedly undecided on whether to pick up his player option to return to the Celtics or enter free agency, so Capela discussions could pick up in the coming weeks or die completely once Boston gets a better idea of where their veteran center stands. 

Now that the Davis trade is out of the way, more dominos are free to fall as the NBA undergoes its most uncertain offseason in recent memory.  

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