Short-handed Celtics fall to Pacers

Florence Fletcher
March 12, 2018

Celtics All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving left Sunday's game against the Indiana Pacers with left knee soreness.

Kyrie Irving did not play in the second half of Boston's 99-97 loss to the Indiana Pacers due to left knee soreness.

Despite the frustrating loss, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens says he took a lot of positives over his team's performance tonight and really admired their ability to keep fighting following Irving's exit.

"I don't think it's anything serious, but we want Kyrie healthy and fresh", Ainge told the "Toucher and Rich" program.

"We talk about being calm, and being poised", said IN coach Nate McMillan, who had already seen his team blow last-minute lead to Boston when the teams met IN December.

Irving said he was "not concerned" this is a long-term injury and that he hopes surgery will not eventually be needed.

"I like being on this end of it", McMillan said.

Boston was already playing without All-Star big man Al Horford (illness) and Irving's typical backcourt partner, ?

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Myles Turner scored 19 points, including the game-winning basket with 21 seconds to play, and added 10 rebounds for IN, which survived the insane ending to win for the fifth time IN six games. Terry Rozier's runner out of the timeout then rimmed out and the Celtics immediately fouled with 11.0 seconds to go and the Celtics still under the limit.

Victor Oladipo scored 27 points, then committed a dead-ball offensive foul that gave Boston a shot to win the game at the buzzer.

The offensive drain subsequently showed, and despite some near game-breaking moments from Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum, the Celtics fell for only the second time in their last eight games in a 99-97 loss to Indiana. Smart (20 points) and Tatum (19) led the Celtics.

Tatum scored 19 points and Rozier had 16 points and six rebounds.

The Celtics closed a nine-point gap to three - and came up empty on five chances to tie or get within a point - before the Pacers responded with four in a row and a 90-83 lead with 2:46 to play.

Oladipo then sliced through the Boston defense for a 95-90 game into a timeout with 1:14 to play.

"Hats off to our young guys", coach Stevens said after the game, per Celtics reporter Marc D'Amico. "I thought they battled".

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