BOSTON -- Kyrie Irving celebrated his 27th birthday doing what he seems to do a lot of lately - get buckets.
Scoring has been the strength of his game for years, but he is in a rhythm now offensively that we just haven’t seen from him like, ever.
Irving dropped 31 points but it wasn’t enough as the Charlotte Hornets rallied for a 124-117 win.
While it certainly was a disappointing loss for Boston, it continues what has been a red-hot stretch of shooting by Kyrie Irving who extended his streak of games with 30 or more points to a career-best five in a row.
Here are three pointers from Saturday’s game against Charlotte.
SAME OL, SAME OL’
Boston had the Hornets on the ropes early in the fourth quarter, seemingly one or two scoring possessions away from calling it a night after a Jayson Tatum bucket put Boston ahead 112-94.
But the Hornets closed out the game with a blistering 30-5 run for the win, a victory that was fueled in part by Marcus Smart picking up a few offensive fouls and thus leaving head coach Brad Stevens no choice but to bench him which opened the gateway towards their defeat with Smart saddled on the bench.
“When you lose an 18-point lead, there’s a lot of things that go wrong,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
It was yet another game in which the Celtics let a very winnable game get away from them, the kind of game that will haunt this team going into the postseason - just like so many other games have in the past.
No matter how you look at it, Kemba Walker was the best player on the floor. He would lead all scorers with 36 points as part of a near triple-double that included 11 rebounds and nine assists. And Walker was at his best down the stretch when it mattered most, draining one big shot after another in leading the Hornets coming back from 18 points down in the third quarter.
And as good as Kyrie Irving was, he was very much a non-factor in the fourth quarter when he missed four of his five shot attempts.
One of the bright spots for Boston was the play of Jaylen Brown off the bench. Continuing his red-hot shooting off the Celtics bench, Brown would finish with 29 points on 10-for-13 shooting from the field.
As Boston inches closer towards the postseason, Brown is positioning himself to be one of the more prominent players off the Celtics bench. In addition to his scoring, Brown has also shown himself to be capable of contributing in other ways as well such as defense.
“We should have probably trapped him more like every other team does in the league but we didn’t. He torches us every time we play them so it’s no surprise.” - Boston’s Kyrie Irving, speaking about Charlotte’s Kemba Walker who had 36 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists on Saturday.
Boston hosts the San Antonio Spurs Sunday night at 7:30 p.m.
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