If the Celtics are going to live up to their preseason expectations and reach the NBA Finals, they need Kyrie Irving to be at his best.

Well, he was just that and then some Wednesday against the Raptors, serving as a reminder that even with all of the off-the-court drama surrounding the C's, Irving is arguably the best player in the Eastern Conference.

Consider this: Before Wednesday, Irving had never had more than 14 assists in a game. And he didn't just set a new career-high, he obliterated it with 18 assists, the most for a Celtic since Rajon Rondo five years ago.

Irving didn't just share the wealth; he also scored 27 points in Boston's 117-108 win -- and he either scored or assisted on the Celtics' final 25 points over the last six minutes of the game.

That makes him just the third Celtic in history with a 27-point, 18-assist game, joining Bob Cousy, who did it twice in 1959, and Sherman Douglas, who racked up those stats in 1994.

It's also the first 27-point, 18-assist game in the NBA since Chris Paul did it back in 2009.

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