The one bright spot was Kyrie Irving. After going through some struggles of his own to start the season, Irving finally looked like the offensive dynamo Boston traded for over a year ago. He finished with 39 points, 26 of which came in the final two quarters and overtime.
Kyrie Irving pours in 39 PTS to fuel the @celtics 22-point comeback! #CUsRise pic.twitter.com/4cKOSnDmPr
Aside from Jaylen Browns 14 points in the second half, the rest of Bostons core was brutal. Al Horford had seven points on seven shots. Gordon Hayward had eight points on eight shots. Jayson Tatum finished with four points and scored his first bucket of the night with 5:30 left in the fourth quarter. The sophomores other two points came via garbage-time free throws. It was as though the rookie wall Tatum evaded most of last season only to finally come down on him all at once. By the end of the game, Tatum was relegated to setting screens for Irving like he was Aron Baynes.
With Hayward and Irving healthy and Brown and Tatum another year wiser, the Celtics were supposed to have so much talent that they could simply turn to the best player on a given night if the game got tight. Its a strategy thats worked for the Warriors (Thursday nights 23-point blowout at the hands of the Bucks notwithstanding). But so far, the Celtics look a lot like the team that reeled off 16 straight wins early last season: They will go as far as Kyrie takes them.
Boston Celtics Terry Rozier shoots down reports of frustration with role: I have no complaints. At all
When Boston needed a 3 to tie the game with 6.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Celtics got the ball into Kyries hands. But it wasnt Irvings shot that forced overtime. The Celtics drew a crowd of defenders outside of the 3-point arc, and so he dished it off to Marcus Morris for a wide-open 3:
“Most importantly, its being connected to an incredible, incredible culture that has existed way before me and will exist after me and I wanted to be a part of that,” Irving said. “It was the same conversation that I had with my dad when I went to Duke, same conversation I had when I was a St. Patrick Celtic. Its the next challenge in my career and I need to handle it face on.”
Boston Celtics Kyrie Irving appreciates being connected to an incredible, incredible culture
“Its good to know that weve got some of that stuff we [had] last year in that locker room, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.
Video: Celtics Rally All The Back From A 22 POINT DEFICIT And Win A Thriller In OT | November 8, 2018
Danny Ainge: No Teams Have Called Celtics Amid Terry Rozier Trade Rumors
Of all the Celtics struggling to adjust to the teams new reality, Stevens may be the most jarring. Just a year ago, he was the wunderkind coach with the magic dry-erase board. But maximizing talent is different than managing a team of stars. Stevens has already proved he can make a contender out of spare parts, but what can he make of a team with some of the best the league has to offer?
The Celtics have time to figure things out. Its only November, and theyre going to keep preaching patience. But while Irvings individual brilliance bailed them out on Thursday, they cant rely on that every night—not against the types of teams theyll need to beat to go farther than they did last postseason. Even talent has its limits.
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Game-Tying Play in Phoenix is Emblematic of Cs Blueprint to Success
Kyrie Irving scored 18 of his season-high 39 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, and Boston rallied from a 22-point deficit for a 116-109 win over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.
On Wednesday, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported that at least seven teams are monitoring Rozier in hopes of acquiring him.
Irving scored Bostons first six points in the extra period, and Marcus Morris finished with 17 against his former team — including the tying 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left in regulation off a feed from Irving.
Whether Boston will trade him is another topic. The Celtics are contenders and the favorites to come out of the East this season, and Rozier is Irving insurance in case he suffers another injury. Plus, quality backup point guards are hard to find. The Celtics may well lose Rozier for nothing next summer (unable to match the $15+ a year offers Rozier will get) but that may be the price of chasing another banner this season.
Morris hit from the top of the arc to tie it at 100. Jaylen Brown added 17 points, all after halftime, for the Celtics (7-4).
There have been reports that seven teams are lurking around if Boston decides to trade Rozier, something Celtics president Danny Ainge denied saying nobody has called him to talk Rozier. Thats semantics. There are more than seven teams that would move if Rozier becomes available and just because they didnt call Ainge does not mean there is no interest.
Report: At least 7 teams waiting to see if Celtics make this player available
Guys like Kyrie, he is going to have all the focus on him, Morris said. I worked on my 3-pointers extensively.
Booker scored 12 points in the fourth quarter and seven in OT, but Phoenix couldnt hold onto a 16-point lead with 6:13 to play in regulation.
I would never go to the media or bring out the unhappy thing. Like I said, people that know me know I wouldnt do that. Ive never been a selfish type of person, selfish player. You can tell the way I play Im all about team.
We just fell apart down the stretch. Kept giving up quick buckets. Miscommunications on defense. A little bit of everything, Booker said.
Twitter LogoCopy Link IconNBA RumorsNBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz on Jimmy Butler and Terry RozierZach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBATwitter LogoNational NBA Featured ColumnistNovember 8, 2018 CommentsComment Bubble Icon
Boston recovered from an ice cold start and won despite shooting 40.2 percent from the field. The Celtics trailed by double digits for much of the second half until a furious late rally.
Were nearing the two-month mark since his trade request went public, and its still unclear how soon his wish will be granted.
Irving hit a 3 with 35.1 seconds to go in the fourth, then his steal led to Browns layup that cut the Suns lead to 98-97 with 7.3 seconds to play. Warren hit two free throws, then Morris took a pass from a double-teamed Irving for the tying 3.
As the 2018-19 NBA season keeps rolling, so too does the seemingly perpetual movement of the rumor mill.
Suns coach Igor Kokoskov thought fatigue caught up to his team late in the game. He also wanted a foul against Irving on the Celtics last possession of the fourth quarter.
Kyrie Irving Lists Most Important Factors In Decision To Commit To Celtics
Warren, starting for the first time since Oct. 31, scored 14 first-quarter points as the Suns took advantage of Bostons shooting woes. Phoenix led 32-13 after 12 minutes.
After making their first shot of the game, a 3 by Irving, the Celtics missed their next 12 attempts and the Suns raced out to a 15-3 lead.
Aron Baynes putback with 5:04 left in the first quarter was the Celtics second basket of the game, and they shot just 4 of 22 in the quarter.
Boston got the lead down to 14 in the second, but a 3 from Booker gave the Suns a 48-26 advantage with 4:31 left in the half.
Report: Celtics extremely unlikely to trade Terry Rozier
I told Igor we didnt deserve to win the game, but it was a great individual performance by Kyrie, certainly, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.
Kyrie Irving is lone Celtics starter to score in first half vs. Suns
Celtics: The teams 13 points in the first quarter were a season low. … Irving was the only starter to make a field goal in the first half. Jayson Tatum, Al Horford, Gordon Hayward and Brown were a combined 0 for 15. … G Marcus Smart surpassed 1,000 rebounds and 400 steals for his career.
Suns: Warren made his third start this season. Ryan Anderson came off the bench. … Booker has 146 points in his last three games against the Celtics, including the career-high 70 he scored in Boston on March 24, 2017. … A game after playing a season-low seven minutes, 2017 first-round draft pick Josh Jackson played only five.
Suns shocked by collapse against Celtics in OT loss
Stevens called Ayton a special talent when asked about the rookie before the game. He brings everything to the table you would think a really good player at that position brings, Stevens said.
Kyrie Irving explains desire to re-sign with Celtics: I want to remain a part of this teams incredible culture
Browns first basket was a high-flying, one-handed dunk in transition at the 10:10 mark of the third quarter. Smart provided the assist.