Published: Tue, April 16, 2019
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Kyrie Irving dedicates Celtics’ win over Pacers to Marcus Smart

Kyrie Irving dedicates Celtics’ win over Pacers to Marcus Smart

Wednesday's clash with Boston gives the Pacers another shot at stealing homecourt advantage from the fourth-seeded Celtics before the series shifts back to IN for Games 3 and 4.

But the truth is that this version of IN - the one without star guard Victor Oladipo, out for the season because of a torn quad tendon suffered January 29 - shouldn't be good enough to beat the Celtics or, frankly, make this a long series. While it's just one game, the Boston Celtics seem to be playing with that pep in their step again, and they're one of the scariest teams in the league when playing to their full potential. Boston did have a 26-8 edge in fast-break points, and in still lost by only a bucket, so if the Pacers can slow the pace even a little, they have a great chance to cover or even pull the upset. The Celtics capitalized and led by as many as 22 in the fourth. Now they're without Marcus Smart and facing No. 5 seed IN, which the Celtics beat 3-1 straight-up IN the regular season (2-2 against the spread). "We didn't shoot particularly well, but we did the little things to get this win". "I appreciated that. I think we all did". "It's the next-play mentality".

In total, IN scored just 29 combined IN the third and fourth quarters, and though the defense was able to hold the Celtics IN check, it wasn't enough to overcome the prolonged offensive draught IN the second half. So we come out, any time in the game, runs can happen.

"I've been in a few playoff games like that, I've been on both ends", Irving said. "It's not so much about scoring as it is about the attitude coming in and really just throwing himself into the game". If you look at the shots we missed, they were good shots. We know that they're going to reach down, they're going to slap down.

Smart could very well be out for the duration of Boston's playoff run unless they make it all the way to the NBA Finals. They control the paint.

"Nothing special", Bogdanovic said before adding, "It's just playoff basketball. Now you can really see where you can improve and where you can take advantage of weak spots". "I got a couple of bigs guarding me, so I'm just trying to space the floor and read their closeouts [and] trying to let the game come to me". The Boston Celtics are allowing 22.2 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 55 rebounds per game. No other Celtics player had more than two points.

To beat the Bucks - and, ultimately, make it out of the East - Boston will need to be far better than it was Sunday.

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