Holy shit was that stressful. After blowing a 16 point lead and finding themselves in a rock right with the best team in the East, the Celtics turned to their best player to do what he’s done so many times before, carry them home. Kyrie Irving did just that for the second time this season against Toronto, first it was his 43/11 in the double OT thriller. Tonight it was a gigantic 27/18 including a game saving 10/6 in the fourth quarter. The Celtics needed someone who was going to be able to go punch for punch with Kawhi Leonard after the Celtics didn’t extend their lead to start the fourth quarter. Kyrie came in and everything changed. Suddenly they had someone not afraid of the moment, someone who wanted the ball and just so happens to be one of the most clutch players in the entire league this season. Fourth quarters like that are why this team invested in Kyrie, and to do it with everything hanging in the balance like that is big time stuff.
Make no mistake, had the Celtics lost this game after getting up by that much only to then blow it in the fourth quarter to lose their 4th game in a row, it would have been a disaster. Had to find a way to pull that out, and really this time around the vets carried the load. Al was about a billion times better on both ends and made a GIGANTIC late fourth quarter three, then there was Hayward’s 16 to get them in a good spot early, this was about as complete a win as we’ve seen from them this season. The goal now is do this consistently, but what a goddamn win.
Just like we all thought, this team can hang with anyone in the East. Now 6-3 against the top 4 seeds and they were a missed Kyrie layup from 7-2. They moved the ball with 32 assists, and guess what it worked! Their defense actually looked like it had life and I think Baynes coming back had a lot to do with it. This was awesome to watch but also frustrating because this was another glimpse of how good they can be. Hell Tatum didn’t even shoot all that well, same with Mook! But at the end of the day, this was about Kyrie dropping his nuts over the Raptors for a second time and putting this team on his back.
Then you hear him postgame, admit Jaylen was right and talk about calling LeBron to apologize for the shit he did as a young player. I don’t really care about the LeBron part because that doesn’t impact this team. I care about the beef with Jaylen being squashed, because both are going to be important moving forward if this team is going to make a run
Now, we drink