This was going to be it, the day the streak came to an end.
And not only was the Celtics’ stretch of wins going to conclude after 15 straight, but in the process Brad Stevens’ team was going to be exposed a bit. The Mavericks completely derailed what was trending toward a C’s blowout, thanks in large part to an ultra-frustrating 2-3 zone. The visitors were turning the ball over, missing shots and letting Harrison Barnes completely take over. And that Celtics bench that had been so helpful? It really wasn’t this time around.
No matter. Kyrie Irving had other ideas.
The Celtics guard took time off from facilitating to carry his team to a 110-102 overtime win over Dallas, scoring 47 points in what would be the Celts’ 16th win in a row. This is now a team that has started the new season at 16-2, the best record by Boston since the 2008-09 club began its campaign at 27-2. (Click here for a complete recap.)
Irving started strong and finished strong, shooting 16-of-22 from the floor, 10-of-11 from the foul line and 5-of-7 from beyond the 3-point arc. He did it inside. He did it outside. The guard completely controlled a game that needed somebody to desperately start taking over for the Celtics.
Of course, the entire package was made possible by the continued emergence of players like Jaylen Brown (22 points, 9 rebounds) and Jayson Tatum (15 points, 9 rebounds). And then there was the somewhat inexplicable, yet helpful, existence of Marcus Smart.
If there was ever a Smart performance it was this one, with the guard making just three of his 15 shots from the floor, going 2-for-11 on his 3-point attempts. Horrific, right? But when it counted the most he would make some of the most important hustle plays, grabbing vital rebounds and even knocking down one of the game’s biggest three-pointers. It was a shot that brought the Celtics within two points with 1:23 remaining.
But this was Kyrie’s game. He undeniably was the adversity buster.
With 58 seconds left, Irving stole the ball from what is looking like an ancient Dirk Nowitzki, raced down the floor and masterfully lofted an alley-oop pass to Tatum to tie things up. Then, once in overtime, it was the Celtics’ point guard who scored nine of the visitors’ first 10 points in OT to seal the deal.
The theme of this latest win was consistent with the others during the streak. The Celtics have now trailed in the fourth quarter in seven of their last 10 games. They have also had to adjust and re-adjust constantly, this time having to exist with an Al Horford who scored three points on 1-for-5 shooting. Stevens also was forced to do things like use Shane Larkin in the fourth to bust the Mavs’ zone, while also getting a total of three points combined from six of the C’s seven bench players.
As the Celtics’ coach pointed out after the win, not much worked, except for what is becoming a pretty good fail-safe: Kyrie Irving.
In the end, that proved to be the perfect plan.
JBL Audio Stat of the Game: Kyrie Irving’s 47 points last night were his most since Jan. 23 last season.
JBL is the Official Sound of Jayson Tatum, The Boston Celtics, and the NBA.
Full article @ Celtics 110, Mavericks 102: Kyrie wasn’t going to let this streak end
Source: GreenStreet Blog