Kyrie Irving, Celtics' opening night starters close out Game 3, 'We've come a long way'

Kyrie Irving, Celtics' opening night starters close out Game 3, 'We've come a long way'

INDIANAPOLIS — When the Celtics’ 2018-19 regular season commenced last September the excitement of seeing Brad Stevens’ starting lineup at full strength outweighed the likelihood of a trying season that was eventually bestowed upon the four-year head coach.  It didn’t work out the way Stevens thought it would and after a 10-10 start to the first 20 games, he changed his starting lineup and hasn’t gone back to it since. However, Friday night against the Pacers, it was Kyrie Irving,…

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How Nate McMillan's gameplan of defending Kyrie Irving, Celtics backfired in Game 3

How Nate McMillan's gameplan of defending Kyrie Irving, Celtics backfired in Game 3

INDIANAPOLIS — After Kyrie Irving’s 37-point performance in Game 2, Pacers head coach Nate McMillan’s game plan heading into Game 3 was a blatant one — force Irving into a playmaker.  Indiana’s defensive approach to make Irving pass the ball and see if his teammates could beat them instead of letting Irving take over, led to Boston’s best quarter of the series right out of the gate. The Celtics closed out the opening frame with a postseason-high 41-point quarter, including…

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Celtics battle for road win, take 3-0 series advantage over Pacers

Celtics battle for road win, take 3-0 series advantage over Pacers

The Pacers desperately needed a win in Game 3 and approached contest accordingly, from start to finish. That still wasn’t enough to knock off the Celtics, who matched Indiana’s intensity throughout, taking Game 3 104-96 on the road. With the exception of the Pacers’ response in the second quarter and their stretch of four consecutive offensive rebounds in one possession in the third quarter, the Celtics weren’t outhustled at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. And they were led, once again, by Kyrie…

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Brad Stevens hints at player rotation change ahead of Game 3

Brad Stevens hints at player rotation change ahead of Game 3

INDIANAPOLIS — Brad Stevens has never been the kind of head coach to stick with one rotation throughout the course of a best-of-7 series. He likes to read how each game plays itself out and call shots on the fly. In the past, Stevens has surprised us with starting lineups and in-game changes throughout the postseason and we may be in store for another eye-opening move Friday night. Stevens was asked if he has considered playing guys like Brad Wanamaker…

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Marcus Smart (torn oblique) is still weeks away from running

Marcus Smart (torn oblique) is still weeks away from running

INDIANAPOLIS — The Celtics are far from setting a return date for Marcus Smart.  Their focus of late has been getting the starting guard back to doing everyday things before the discussion of getting Smart back on the floor takes place. However, Smart did make the trip to Indiana and much like Game 2, will be on the bench with his teammates for Game 3.  Still, Smart managed to get a few light shots up at Celtics shootaround Friday morning…

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Kyrie Irving gets hand checked out during Celtics shootaround before Game 3: Video

Kyrie Irving gets hand checked out during Celtics shootaround before Game 3: Video

It may be nothing, but it’s at least worth keeping an eye on. After cameras caught Kyrie Irving getting his right hand/wrist checked out during Wednesday night’s Game 2, Irving had it looked at again during Friday morning’s shootaround, as captured by WEEI.com’s Josue Pavon. Check out the video above. Whatever it is, it didn’t seem to affect Irving at all during the game, as he put up 37 points on 15-of-26 shooting (including 6-of-10 on 3s) to lead the…

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Why Kyrie Irving, Celtics should sweep Pacers in best-of-7 series

Why Kyrie Irving, Celtics should sweep Pacers in best-of-7 series

Kyrie Irving always sees the big picture.  He knows that if the Celtics are going to make a deep playoff run, it’s not going to come down to winning at TD Garden, it’s going to come down to winning on the road.  The Celtics All-Star was impressed by his team’s late-game execution — in a game where Boston trailed its opponent in the final two minutes — but winning in Indiana this upcoming weekend will be a true test for…

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Kyrie Irving showing regular season headaches don’t matter

Kyrie Irving showing regular season headaches don’t matter

Jayson Tatum may have hit the decisive three-pointer and thrown down on Bojan Bogdanovic in the final minute of the fourth quarter, but there’s no question the Celtics walked out of Game 2 with a win because of Kyrie Irving. From start to finish, he was on another level offensively. In the first half, it looked like he was warming up for a new Uncle Drew video, each shot more high-arcing than the next. He was efficient again in the…

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Kyrie Irving the hero in Celtics' Game 2 win over the Pacers

Kyrie Irving the hero in Celtics' Game 2 win over the Pacers

The Celtics now have a 2-0 lead in their best-of-7 series after topping the Pacers, 99-91, Wednesday night at TD Garden. (For a complete recap, click here.) After trailing the Pacers throughout the entire third quarter, the Celtics chipped away at a 10-point deficit in the final frame before eventually pulling away. Kyrie Irving’s 8-0 run against the Pacers granted the Celtics their first lead of the second half, 86-82 with 5:25 left to play before Indiana caught fire from…

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Marcus Smart talks about his injury (oblique), far from setting a return date

Marcus Smart talks about his injury (oblique), far from setting a return date

For the first time since suffering from last week’s torn left oblique, Marcus Smart gave reporters an update following Tuesday afternoon’s practice at The Auerbach Center. Smart revealed what he experienced last week against the Magic, when he ran into Orlando’s big man Nikola Vucevic before he left the game, reentered and then checked himself back out when he collapsed to the floor a second time. “I’ve been hit multiple times in the same area, and literally it’s just a…

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