Jayson Tatum canned a corner 3-pointer with 50.8 seconds left that wound up standing as the game winner of Wednesday night’s Game 2 against Indiana.
Somehow, that wasn’t the most important shot of the game.
The most important shot – or, better yet, the most important shots - arrived during a six-minute stretch that began at the 10:54 mark of the fourth quarter.
With 10:55 left on the clock, Boston trailed 82-70, matching its largest deficit of the night. But after Al Horford canned a jumper with 10:54 let in the game, the Celtics caught absolute fire.
Including Horford’s jumper, the Celtics scored 16 straight points from the 10:54 mark to the 4:44 mark. That run turned a 12-point deficit into a four-point lead, and pulled the Garden faithful onto their feet.
Kyrie Irving accounted for the final eight points of the run, including two huge 3-pointers that truly altered the game’s momentum. Jayson Tatum scored four, and Horford and Terry Rozier each scored two.
Without that run, Tatum never has the opportunity to take that corner 3-pointer with 50.8 seconds left to win the game. The Celtics lose without that run.
That’s why the 16-0 spurt that Horford initiated with his jumper was the most important sequence of the game.
This is probably what Danny Ainge dreamed about when he acquired Kyrie Irving back on Aug. 31, 2017. And what we mean by that is watching Irving take over an NBA playoff game and lead the Celtics to victory.
Irving has picked the Celtics apart many times during the postseason as an opponent. Wednesday night was the first time he did so for them, and against their opponent.
Irving scored a game-high 37 points during Game 2 to lead Boston to a 99-91 victory over the Indiana Pacers. He shot 15-of-26 from the field, including an insane mark of 6-for-10 from long distance. Irving also accumulated a game-high seven assists to go along with six rebounds, a steal, and a blocked shot.
Irving played more than 39 minutes Wednesday night. Boston needed all of them. He kept his team in the game during the third quarter, and the C’s outscored Indiana by 12 points while he was on the floor during the fourth quarter.
This, apparently, is what dreams are made of – for everyone.
“Finally getting a chance to lace ‘em up for the Celtics in the NBA Playoffs… it’s nothing like it,” Irving said with a smile after his incredible performance.
We all feel the same way.
Box Score Nuggets
- Kyrie Irving (37 points) and Jayson Tatum (26 points) were the game's two leading scorers.
- Bojan Bogdanovic led Indiana with 23 points.
- Boston outrebounded Indiana, 48-36.
- Al Horford led the game with 10 rebounds.
- Irving stuffed the stat sheet with his 37 points, seven assists, six rebounds, two blocked shots and one steal.
- Boston scored 23 points off of Indiana's 12 turnovers, and Indiana scored 20 points off of Boston's 14 turnovers.
- Bogdanovic led the game with four steals.
- Neither team attempted more than 10 free throws.
- Boston outscored Indiana by 19 points while Terry Rozier was on the floor for his 20:35 of playing time.
- All four of Indiana's reserves who entered the game finished with negative plus/minus ratings.
- Gordon Hayward and Tyreke Evans led all reserves with 13 points apiece.
Quote of the Night
They're a team full of scorers.
Thaddeus Young on the Boston Celtics