Winslow Townson / Associated Press
As much as Uncle Drew dazzles in the regular season, Playoff Kyrie Irving increases the bet from all angles.
Irving did things to Irving early and often during the Boston Celtics Game 2 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday. The Shamrocks needed every last one of them, since the Pacers without Víctor Oladipo were not faster than the basketball, they flowed better in the offensive and played with implacability in the other end.
For 47 minutes, it seemed that Irving and the Pacers exchanged body shots until the final whistle. Then Jayson Tatum happened.
The 21-year-old took the last minute. His fingerprints were found in eight of the 10 points scored in that stretch, which turned a 91-89 deficit in Boston in a 99-91 victory for the preseason favorite that is now shaping up to be the biggest wild card in the game. Eastern Conference.
The corner of Tatum triple. a delicious penny of Jaylen Brown gave the Celtics a 92-91 lead with 50.8 seconds remaining. The next time he went down, he fed Gordon Hayward to push Boston's lead to 94-91. One of the horribly timed Pacers miscue laterThe pbad of the limits of Wesley Matthews went beyond the limits-Tatum sealed the victory with a hammer and a 1 color.
Bleach report @Bleach report
Tatum hits three to give Boston the lead, helps extend it and gets in to seal it.
Celtics up 2-0 vs. Pacers https://t.co/2OpDx2UKVh
"He made the right plays," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens succinctly He said of tatum.
That's what the coach says: "We did not win this game without him." And the Celtics definitely do not.
They followed Irving's leadership, but the six-time All-Star could only do so much. His astonishing 37 points, seven badists and six rebounds barely moved at the last minute, with only one defensive board added to his account.
In other words, even with Irving in-Or very close to-The best thing is that Boston could not get rid of the squad but the squad without stars. Three different starters scored in single digits, including Al Horford, who recovered from the illness but only contributed four points in 37 minutes. The second unit managed only 21 points in 24 shots, and that's when Hayward scored 13 points in 4 of 7 shots from the field.
The Celtics never reached their rhythm until Tatum did it. And if Boston is going to get rid of a season of frustrating inconsistencies and a never-right chemistry to make the long playoff tie so many he had anticipated, he should continue to serve as a big part of the formula.
Irving lives for this time of year. We already know that. The Celtics support scorers are unstable from one game to another. That is not new information.
But Tatum may be the exception when he plays to his potential. We should also know.
The actions of any player saw a bigger jump during the postseason last year. Pushed into the limelight by the injuries of Irving and Hayward, TatumJust one month after his twentieth birthday when those playoffs began.I took the keys to this offense and got the most points in the playoffs for a team that lost a win in the NBA finals.
"The circumstances do not affect him," Stevens told Sopan Deb of the New York Times. "The first game of the season, is not affected by the nervousness that everyone has." Seventh game of a playoff series "He is not affected, at least, he is shown as unaffected, and can thrive in that environment."
As young as Tatum, Wednesday was the 21st career start in the postseason. Some may argue that it is not enough time to form a playoff reputation. Maybe they're right
But that would not make the first performances in its 2019 postseason less encouraging. Through two games, he contributed 41 points with 54.8 percent shooting and scratched six of his nine long-distance looks.
"I get very excited", Tatum He said. "It's the best time of year."
Behind that mentality, the Celtics could be transforming before our eyes.
They will always be stingy in defense while Stevens makes the shots. They will always have an isolation badistant, while Irving is green and white.
But this is not a championship caliber offense without Tatum resembling-O, better yet, surpbading-The star star we saw last season.
Assuming Boston gets rid of Indiana, it's likely that he will have a showdown with the best Milwaukee Bucks and MVP contender Giannis Antetokounmpo. Find a way out of that series, and you could go head to head with the Toronto Raptors or the Philadelphia 76ers, both multi-star teams.
Survive the Eastern Conference glove, and face the Golden State Warriors, James Harden's Houston Rockets or whatever the Wild West sends to the championship round.
The Celtics are not doing that walk without Tatum at his best. And to tell the truth, that only speaks of a part of its importance for the organization.
If it does not stay on the Celtics list, it's because it's the trump card in Anthony Davis' trade negotiations, and adding Eyebrow this summer would exponentially increase the odds of re-signing Irving. But failing that, The development of Tatum remains a key to the future of Boston.
Maybe it takes such a seismic leap in this postseason that forces Irving to stay still even without an agreement with Davis. Or if Irving really comes out, the franchise may feel that its next centerpiece is already in place.
In the last postseason, Tatum was put on the map with a career that opened his eyes. This time, he could be putting the Celtics back in the championship conversation.