BOSTON – Forget all points – and there were many of them, a season high 43 to be exact –…
BOSTON – Forget all points – and there were many of them, a season high 43 to be exact – or assists – 11 of them too. Kyrie Irving almost tried the Boston Celtics almost an overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night, but his relentless efforts were perhaps best exemplified on the floor’s defensive end where he is much less known.
Celtics eight when Irving entered again at 10:24 in the fourth quarter, coach Brad Stevens left with few alternatives but to return to Irving early in the final with Toronto threatening to run away.
Boston quickly threw his deficit to three but Jayson Tatum lost the ball and tried to attack in the transition and Kawhi Leonard drove on the other side with the chance to stop Celtic’s momentum.
With a back spine, Leonard left Celtic’s storm Aron Baynes, who hit the blocks, but when Leonard entered the color, Irving drove off the opposite side of the floor and with a left-hand rack hit the ball from Leonard’s possession. On the right side Irving traveled with his left arm and managed to force a jumping ball.
In view of Leonard’s oversized desires and his sheer strength, it was not a small achievement by Irving to force a tie.
Irving did not win the following tip on his own, but he challenged Leonard enough that Leonard mourned the ball direct to Tatum and eventually led Irving to shoot free throws at the other end.
An incredible lot occurred during the next 1
3 minutes of play but it was clear at the moment that Irving would not be denied this night. And every now and then he came up with great games that helped Celtics to appear with an exciting 123-116 triumph at TD Garden.
“It’s just not too often during the regular season, you can play like this,” says Irving. “So you want to take full advantage of them. They are a good test for your team at both ends of the basketball floor. A good player in the second locker room [in Leonard]. So you just have to be on your Ps and Qs for the unknown, and that’s the competition. The level of play is raised and you just have to appreciate it. “
Irving was extraterrestrial this night. Not only did he do a season-high 43 points on ultra-effective 18-of-26 shooting but he scored 23 points in 9-of-12 shots in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Only one of these marks came beyond the elbow Irving beats a 3-pointer early in the fourth frame. He spent the rest of the night raging attacks on the basket, generating tough moves for himself or waving the ball to open teammates.
“Oh man, [Irving] did some shots tonight where you are like,” Wow. & # 39; You make yourself a fan, says Gordon Hayward, who went for a 39-minute high season, made the free throw as forced overtime and perhaps played his most complete game since returning from an injury to an injury that cost him almost all his 2017-18 season .
“When he entered that scene, the whole arena knew where he went, and it did the Raptors. They could not stop him, he played enormously. We leaned him a lot.”
It was not just the fact that Irving put up big points, it was the way he did it. A Celtics team who had fallen in love with long jumpers saw that their starters combined tried zero first half Irving attacked the basket on the first holding of the second half and did not end until the last overtime’s horn.
Irving routinely entered Toronto’s labyrinth of arms and legs, especially those belonging to Serge Ibaka and Leonard, and still Muscled home’s incredibly tough finish.
“I’m used to it,” says Comrade Marcus Morris. “I told him he had to have an A in English class because his English with that ball is narrow to none. I’ve never seen anyone put the ball on top of the backplate so and get the roll. He’s a good player, man. He is great for us and he came here to play and we needed every bit of it. “
Celtics players acknowledged the hardest part of Irving’s brilliance will not be caught to see it on time.
” It’s our job not to watch. Continue cutting, move, “said Tatum.” Of course, he’s going to show a show. “
Irving has been brilliant in recent weeks, especially since he killed the afro as he went into the season. In the eight matches he played played since his hairstyle, Irving has an average of 28.5 points per game of 56.3 percent shooting total, including 50 percent beyond 3-point arc. Add 6.3 help, 4.5 returns and 2.3 steals over 34 minutes per game.
And yet, Celtics was a underwhelming 4-4 in the eight games before Friday night (Irving did not play in one of these losses in Utah). Despite Irving’s individual shine, Boston was still fighting to find the consistency team clearly missed out of the gates that season.
Boston could have let Friday’s game slip away, but Irving would not let it go. Even when Raptors drove their lead to double numbers, Irving never stopped fighting. It would be stupid to propose that Friday’s game was a must-win – no November game deserves that kind of billing – but it’s also hard to argue that these Celtics did not desperately need a statement win if they only wanted to confirm their position as one of East’s best dogs.
TD Garden buzzed with playoff-like intensity and Irving played as a title on the line. It was a refreshing change from the duds that the Celtics had often presented this season.
Now they have to build up the momentum in subsequent wins.
“We always want success. I think the pursuit of it is always a goal,” said Irving. “But you have to be patient to understand that it will not just come right away. You have to beat some good teams and build some continuity. I do not want to say “hopefully”, but I think this test tonight will put forward a precedent for us. “
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