Celtics

Kyrie Irving's latest Instagram post won't ease Celtics fans' concerns

Kyrie Irving's latest Instagram post won't ease Celtics fans' concerns

Celtics fans looking for any sign of hope Kyrie Irving will re-sign in Boston certainly won't find it on his Instagram page.

Here's Irving's post from Wednesday, which features the pending free agent somewhere near his childhood home in West Orange, N.J., chatting up the crossing guard he used to pass on his walk to school.

"Stroll with me Light Family!" the caption reads. "Home is where the heart lives and stays!"

There's nothing wrong with Irving taking a walk down memory lane. But the timing of this post might make Celtics fans uneasy, considering the reports that have suggested Irving is considering signing with the hometown Brooklyn Nets or New York Knicks.

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported Tuesday that Irving has given "every indication" he wants to play for the Nets, while SNY's Ian Begley reported Wednesday the Knicks are in the mix -- and that Irving's chances of re-signing with the Celtics are "low."

Irving has spent some quality time near his old stomping grounds over the last few days, attending the Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz Jr. boxing match at Madison Square Garden over the weekend.

You could read that as professional athlete simply returning home after trying NBA season ... or a pending free agent re-acquainting himself with the area he's considering returning to in the fall. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

NBA odds: Celtics vs. Heat point spread, moneyline, over/under total for seeding game

NBA odds: Celtics vs. Heat point spread, moneyline, over/under total for seeding game

The Boston Celtics will play arguably their most important NBA seeding game in the bubble Tuesday night when they take on the Miami Heat.

A victory for the C's would give them a 3.5-game edge over the Heat for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race with five seeding games remaining. Miami would still mathematically have a chance to overtake Boston for the No. 3 seed, but a 3.5-game deficit is a lot to make up in just five games. 

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Heat, which begins Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 6:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

The Celtics beat the Heat twice already this season, once at TD Garden in December and again at Miami in January. Oddsmakers have made the C's betting favorites to win Tuesday and sweep the season series. The Heat also are playing on the second night of a back-to-back. Miami lost a hard-fought matchup to the Toronto Raptors on Monday afternoon. 

One of the keys for the Celtics will be defending the 3-point line. The Heat lead the league with a 38.7 percent success rate on 3-point shots. Miami has several players capable of getting hot from beyond the arc, including second-year shooting guard Duncan Robinson, whose 44.6 3-point percentage ranks fourth-best in the league.

Here are the latest betting lines for Celtics vs. Heat, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Point spread: Celtics -3 (-112), Heat +3 (-109)
Moneyline: Celtics (-157), Heat (+132)
Total points: Over 219.5 (-113), Under 219.5 (-108)

Celtics hit encouraging injury report milestone entering Heat matchup

Celtics hit encouraging injury report milestone entering Heat matchup

The "hospital" Boston Celtics are no more.

The Celtics dealt with a steady stream of injuries throughout the 2019-20 NBA season, from Jaylen Brown's sprained ankle to Marcus Smart's various bumps and bruises to Kemba Walker's balky knee.

And while Walker's knee still keeps some C's fans up at night, the NBA's four-month layoff did wonders for the overall health of the squad.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Heat, which begins Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 6:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Want proof? The Celtics reported no injuries ahead of Tuesday's seeding-round matchup with the Miami Heat in Orlando. That's their third consecutive contest with a clean injury sheet -- their longest no-injury streak of the season, per 98.5 The Sports Hub's Brian Robb.

Walker was on a minutes limit for Boston's first two games in the bubble (19 minutes against the Milwaukee Bucks and 22 minutes versus the Portland Trail Blazers) so the Celtics still aren't at peak operation.

But key contributors Jayson Tatum, Brown, Smart and Gordon Hayward -- in addition to big men Daniel Theis, Enes Kanter and Robert Williams -- are all available for head coach Brad Stevens, which was rarely the case during the pre-pandemic regular season.

If Walker can return to full strength by the end of the seeding round, we could see a fully-healthy C's squad in the postseason. (Yes, we just knocked on wood.) Considering they went 43-21 while battling a stream of injuries, it's no wonder why some believe the Celtics can make a deep playoff run in Orlando.