Irving, Boston Take 1-0 Lead Over Indiana

Kyrie Irving after scoring for Boston Celtics

BOSTON — Kyrie Irving scored 20 points and the Boston Celtics secured an 84-74 win over the Indiana Pacers to take a 1-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round playoff game on Sunday. Box Score

Irving, who shot 6 of 17 from the floor and made all six of his free throws, also dished out seven assists and had five rebounds in the win.

“I just try to be aggressive on the ball, be in the right spots,” Irving said after the game.

“I just really want to be aggressive and really be the head of the snake.”

Marcus Morris added 20 points with seven rebounds, while Jayson Tatum scored 15 points for the Celtics (1-0).

Al Harford ended with a triple-double of 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists and Gordon Hayward finished with 10 points and seven boards for Boston.

Cory Joseph scored 14 points for the Pacers (0-1) in the defeat, while Bojan Bogdanovic added 12 points for Indiana.

Boston won the game despite shooting just 36.7 percent and committing 20 turnovers.

Indiana was even lower, shooting only 33.3 percent from the field and were just 6 for 27 from 3.

The Pacers set a new franchise record for lowest points in a quarter thanks after being outscored 26-8 in the third quarter.

Boston trailed the Pacers 45-38 at halftime, but recovered to hold Indiana to just 29 points in the second half.

The went up by 11 points in the first half, but the Celtics went on the front foot after the interval after using a 22-3 run in the third quarter to take a 60-48 lead and ended the quarter ahead 64-53.

“They missed some shots, but we were really connected,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said. “We were really playing hard. We were really flying around.”

Game 2 in the series is on Wednesday in Boston and again.

Irving Joins 40pts Christmas Day Active Player Club

Kyrie Irving after scoring for Boston Celtics

BOSTON – Kyrie Irving hit a clutch shot to delay the end of the game and then finished it with two more big shots in overtime to the lead the Boston Celtics to an overtime 121-114 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Christmas Day.

Irving first connected on a 13-footer to extended the game, also hit back-to-back 3-pointers, including a 30-foot running pull-up jumper, finished with 40 points to go with 10 rebounds, as the Celtics (20-13) came back from a five-point deficit to win the game.

According to ESPN Stats and Information, Irving has now become the 4th active NBA player with a 40-point game on Christmas Day.

The All-Star point guard joins Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant and James Harden as players to accomplish the achievement.

After the game, Irving spoke about his rare December 25 performance and the build-up to the contest.

“Just competition at its highest. I love going against the best.

“It’s not too often you get to do that in the regular season, especially on a holiday like Christmas.

“I got to open presents with my family this morning then come into work. It was great.”

Irving was well supported on the night by Jayson Tatum and Marcus Morris who both scored 23 apiece for Boston. Tatum also grabbed 10 rebounds.

Joel Embiid paced the Philadelphia 76ers with 34 points and 16 rebounds.

Supporting him were Jimmy Butler with 24 points, JJ Redick with 17 points and Ben Simmons with 11 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists.

NBA Live TV Channel, Streams On Oct. 16 – Season Openers

Stephen Curry NBA playoffs: Christmas Day

The new NBA season tips-off on Tuesday night with a double-header and you can stream both games live on TNT Online. Live television coverage will also be available on TNT Network. Watch Live Stream on TNT

Defending champion Golden State Warriors will start the defense of their title against the Oklahoma City Thunder at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, CA, in the second of the games on opening night.

Game time for this one is set for 10:30 pm ET.

Before that though, the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, two of the leading teams in the Eastern Conference, will get the season underway at 8:30 pm.

The Celtics will welcome back Gordon Hayward, who missed all of last season because of a bad injury suffered in the first game, and the experienced forward is looking forward to playing again.

Hayward admits that it was difficult watching the games from the sideline.

“Mentally, it was just to try and not think about basketball and not think about the situation I was in more than anything,” he said in Sunday’s Boston Herald.

“Playing video games, I’m talking to my friends while I’m playing and keeping myself occupied.

“If you’re down, and you’re constantly sitting there or lying in bed, lying in the hospital bed thinking, ‘Why am I not out there, I should be out there,’ replaying different things in your head.”

The likes of Kyrie Irving, who is also healthy again after missing the playoffs, along with young talents Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, veteran center Al Horford and Marcus Smart are also looking forward to getting the season underway for Boston.

Meanwhile, star center Joel Embiid will lead a very talented Philadelphia group, which also includes Ben Simmons, JJ Redick and Markelle Fultz.

“I think our future is amazing,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “I see a progressive growth.

“I think we’ve got a chance to be good for a decade, I think we have a chance to be good for a long time, and that’s what excites me the most.”

The 76ers were beaten 4-1 in the second round of the NBA playoffs last year and Embiid reflected on it.

“Last year, I thought we kind of made a mistake as far as playing against Boston,” Embiid said.

“I wasn’t allowed to help off of (Aron) Baynes, especially when he was in the corner.

“We had a lot of times when Boston was driving to the paint and I wasn’t in there or I was stuck in the corner because I wasn’t allowed to help.”

In the meantime, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant will lead the Warriors against the Thunders, who will be without star point guard Russell Westbrook, who remains on the sideline after having surgery.

Watch Video Highlights: Celtics v Cavaliers Conference Finals Game 1

Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens

BOSTON — Watch video highlights from the Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the hosts Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden on Sunday.

Jaylen Brown had 23 points and eight rebounds, Marcus Morris added a double-double with 21 points and 10 boards, and the Celtics completely dominated the Cavaliers in a 108-83 win at home.

Boston started strong and opened a 21-point first-quarter lead before rolling into the halftime break with a 61-35, the biggest halftime playoff deficit in LeBron James distinguished career.

Morris, making in his first start this postseason, was outstanding at guarding James on Sunday.

“He’s obviously the best player in the game,” said Morris, who during the week boasted that he was up to the challenge and on Sunday explained why he wanted it.

“Because I’m a competitor. He’s the best player, and I’m going to be able to tell my kids this one day.”

Al Horford finished with 20 points and six assists and rookie Jayson Tatum contributed 16 points and six rebound for Boston, which led by as many as 28 points in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, James shot 5 of 16 from the field, including 0 for 5 from 3-point range to end with a playoff-low 15 points and a playoff-high seven turnovers in the defeat for the Cavaliers.

The four-time NBA MVP also added nine assists and seven rebounds.

Kevin Love had 17 points and 8 rebounds, Rodney Hood finished with 11 points and Jordan Clarkson scored 10 for Cleveland, which pulled its starters midway through the fourth quarter.

Despite the below par Game 1 performance, James is confident the Cavs will bounce back.

“I have zero level of concern at this stage,” said James.

“I’ve been down before in the postseason, but for me there’s never any level of concern — no matter how bad I played tonight, with seven turnovers, how inefficient I was shooting the ball,” he added.

“We have another opportunity to be better as a ball club coming in Tuesday night, and we’ll see what happens.”

Game 2 in the seven-game series is Tuesday night.

“I think we’re very alert to the fact that we’ll get a heavyweight punch on Tuesday night,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

“It’s another great challenge, another great opportunity to experience something for this team.”

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Boston Celtics Beat Philadelphia 76ers In Overtime, Take 3-0 Lead

Al Horford Boston Celtics

PHILADELPHIA — Al Horford scored the go-ahead basket in overtime and the Boston Celtics held off the Philadelphia 76ers 101-98 to win Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semi-final on Saturday night. Box Scores and Video Highlights

The wild Game 3 victory saw Boston, the underdogs entering the series, taking a commanding 3-0 lead in the series and need only one more win to book a conference final place.

Jayson Tatum had a game-high 24 points on 11 of 17 shooting for the Celtics, while Terry Rozier added 18 points and seven rebounds and Jaylen Brown had 16 points and nine rebounds off the bench in the win.

Horford, who gave Boston a 99-98 lead with 5.5 seconds left in the game and then knocked down two free throws on Celtics’ next position, finished with 13 points, six rebounds, three blocks and two steals on the night.

“We’re trying to find a way, and this group is playing hard every night,” Horford told ESPN after the game, referring to the Celtics’ deep playoff push without injured stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.

Marco Belinelli hit a jumper as time expired in regulation to tie the game at 89-89 and send the contest into overtime.

However, Philadelphia gave away the basketball numerous times during the extra period and paid for it.

Joel Embiid led the 76ers with a double-double with 22 points and 19 rebounds before fouling out in overtime after turning the ball over in the closing seconds of that period.

JJ Redick had 18 points, while Ben Simmons added 16 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, but had four turnovers in the game.

“A lot of (missed) opportunities,” Simmons said when asked about his own turnovers. “A lot of mistakes were made. It’s frustrating when you know what the mistakes are.”

Ersan Ilyasova finished with 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench and Belinelli ended with 12 as a reserve as well for the 76ers in the defeat.

The Sixers led 51-48 at halftime.

Game 4 is Monday, again in Philadelphia and the 76ers will try to avoid being swept by the Celtics.

“You can’t win all four at once,” Redick said. “Our focus has to be on Monday and extending the series to five games.”

Watch Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics Game 3 on WatchESPN

Ben Simmons - Philadelphia 76ers

PHILADELPHIA — Follow live streaming coverage of the Eastern Conference semi-final Game 3 clash between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on WatchESPN on Saturday.

Cavaliers v Raptors: Game 3 Live Stream on WatchESPN

The game, which is also available live on television on the ESPN network, will get going at 5:00 pm ET

Philadelphia, which started the series as the favourite, is looking to bounce back at home after losing both games in Boston last week.

Saturday’s game is the 20th postseason battle between the Boston and Philadelphia with the Celtics winning 12 of the previous 19 meetings.

Boston, playing without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, won Game 1 of the series 117-101 and rally to take Game 2 108-103 to lead the seven-game-series 2-0.

In Game 2, Boston fell to a 48-26 deficit early in the second quarter, but rallied to take control.

“I think the Celtics defensive intensity went to a higher level,” said Jaylen Brown, who returned from injury to score 13 points off the bench in Game 2.

“I think somewhere at the five-minute mark and we brought Joel (Embiid) and JJ (Redick) back into the game in the second period.

“We give them credit. They went on a little run and then they went on another run I think at two minutes left.”

Big man Al Horford is averaging 12 points, seven rebounds and 4.7 assists in this season for Boston, while Terry Rozier, who has slotted in well as the starting point guard for the injured Irving, is putting out 19.1 points, 6.9 assists and 5.0 rebounds this postseason.

Meanwhile, for the Sixers, who were losing back-to-back games for the first time since their two-game losing streak in late February, will be hoping Ben Simmons can shake off his disappointing performance from the last outing.

Simmons, one of the top contenders for the rookie of the year crown this season, went 0-4 from the field in Game 2 and finished with one point in 31 minutes.

His -44 this series is also the worst plus/minus of any 76ers player, according to ESPN.

Big center Joel Embiid scored averages 21.4 points, 11.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game in this season and grabbed two double-doubles so far in this series.

Boston is yet to win on the road this postseason but will be hoping to steal one in Philly on Saturday.

Bucks v Celtics Game 3: NBA Playoff – Live on WatchESPN, ESPN

Al Horford Boston Celtics

MILWAUKEE — The Boston Celtics continue to progress without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving and on Friday night, they will aim to take a commanding lead against the Milwaukee Bucks in their first-round playoff series.

Live television and streaming coverage of Game 3 of the best-of-seven series at the Bradley Center will be on ESPN and WatchESPN, starting at 9:30 pm ET.

You can watch this battle on any streaming platform, including smartphones, tablets, streaming boxes and computers.

Boston won both games at home to take a 2-0 lead into Game 3 in Milwaukee and Brad Stevens is hoping his team can maintain its winning form in the current postseason.

The Celtics took Games 1 at home in overtime, 113-107 and followed that up with a more comfortable 120-106.

Watch the Celtics v Bucks live streaming on ESPN
Watch the Celtics v Bucks live streaming on ESPN

“It’s a ton of fun to play at home in the playoffs but it’s a ton of fun to play on the road if you’re a competitor,” Stevens said before Game 3.

“And one of the things that I want our guys to do is really kinda relish the challenge of getting a chance to play on the road against a really good team.”

Terry Rozier, who replaced Irving at the starting point guard for the Celtics, has scored 23 points in each of the first two games of the series and is also averaging 5.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds.

Jaylen Brown has also been an important figure for Boston – scoring 30 points in Game 3 and is shooting just over 51-percent in this series.

Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 32.5 points per game in this series after scoring 35 and 30 in the first two games.

The big power forward is also averaging 11.0 rebound and 7.5 assists.

Antetokounmpo was again supported by Khris Middleton, who had scored 25 points on an effective 10 of 14 shooting from the field.

However, point guard Eric Bledsoe, who has scored just 21 total points on 9-for-25 shooting and is averaging three turnovers in the current series, will need to be a little more productive if the Bucks are going to pull back Boston.

The Boston Celtics are without Irving and Gordon Haywood who are both ruled out for the remainder of the season due to respective injuries.

Watch Celtics v Cavaliers Live on WatchESPN: LeBron v Kyrie Again

Cleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics

BOSTON – Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics will play host to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers at TD Garden on Wednesday night and you can stream the action live on WatchESPN.

The night’s clash, which tips off at 8:00 pm ET and televised live on ESPN, will see former Cavs teammates Irving and James battling for the second time since Kyrie left the Cavaliers, but former Boston guard Isaiah Thomas will not feature.

Thomas made his long-awaited debut in smashing style against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night after being out for seven months due to an injury.

However, Cleveland has decided to rest its starting point guard as he continues to work on his fitness.

When the Celtics and the Cavaliers met in the regular season opener on Oct. 17, James had 29 points and 16 rebounds for the Cavs in a 102-99 win.

Come tonight, Boston will be aiming to return the favor on their home court, as Irving and his teammates hunt their fourth successive win.

Entering this game, Irving is averaging a career-high 24.8 points, while James is also putting out career-bests 27.7 points, 9.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game, while playing almost 31 minutes a game.

James, one of the early leading candidates for the MVP honor this season, is ranked third in scoring and second in assists per contest this term.

As a team, the Cavaliers are fifth in points per game with 110.5.

Boston is scoring 103.5, but is allowing 98.5, which is second in the league behind the San Antonio Spurs.

Irving Scores 47pts, Celtics Rallied Again For 16th Straight Win

Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics

DALLAS, Sporting Alert – Kyrie Irving scored 47 points and the Boston Celtics rallied from another double-digit deficit to beat the Dallas Mavericks 110-102 in overtime for their 16th straight win on Monday night.

Irving, who scored 10 of his season-high points in the overtime period, became the first Celtics player since Larry Bird to score at least 45 points on 70 percent shooting, according to ESPN’s Stats and Info.

The point guard, who scored 25 of his points in the first half, shot 16 of 22 from the field overall and made five 3-pointers in the win. He also converted 10 of 11 free throws and dished out six assists for the Celtics (16-2).

Boston trailed Dallas 87-74 when Dwight Powell made a layup with 7:47 remaining, but Irving and Co. rallied to send the game into overtime at 96-96 before stealing it in the extra period.

Jaylen Brown, who gave the Celtics a 104-102 lead with a jumper with 1:39 to play in overtime, finished with 22 points on 8 of 13 shooting with nine rebounds.

Jayson Tatum, whose alley-oop lay-up rimmed in to send the contest into overtime, added 15 points and nine rebounds, while Marcus Smart ended with 12 points and eight assists off the bench for Boston, which was coming back from its third successive double-digit deficit.

“For us, it’s just about battling back when teams get a comfortable rhythm, whether it’d be in the first half or the second half,” Irving, who was 9 of 9 from the field at one point in the first half, said.

“As a group, we continue just to stick together throughout anything and everything.”

Harrison Barnes had 31 points and six rebounds for Dallas (3-15), but missed a jumper with less than a second to go in regulation that could have won it for the Mavericks.

“At the end of the day, it’s got to show up in wins and losses,” Barnes said. “There are no moral victories around here.

“Tonight was playing against a great team, and a great opportunity to win here in front of our home fans. We let it slip away.”

Wesley Matthews ended with 18 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists in the defeat.

J.J. Barea scored 16 points off the bench for Dallas and Dirk Nowitzki added 14 points and 12 rebounds, but his lone turn over was a costly one, as Boston scored off it to send the game into overtime.

The Mavericks, who came back from an early double-digit deficit, were losing for the fifth time in six games.

“We just needed to make a couple more plays at key times,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.

“Probably just one more key play in the last minute or minute and a half. That would have been the difference.”

Irving Scores 30pts, Celtics Extend Win Streak To 15 Straight Games

Kyrie Irving of Boston Celtics

ATLANTA, Sporting Alert – Kyrie Irving scored 30 points and the Boston Celtics extended their winning streak to 15 games with a 110-99 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

The current winning streak is Boston’s longest since its franchise-best 19 consecutive victories from Nov. 15 to Dec. 23, 2008.

“Most of us have never been on a winning streak like this,” Irving said. “I don’t know if we even know how to pay attention to all the hoopla that goes on in terms of the excitement of it.

“I just think that every single game we take it as a challenge.”

Irving, who returned to wearing his protective mask after ditching it during the win over the Warriors earlier this week, shot 10 of 12 from the floor, including 5 of 6 from 3-pointers and had five assists and four rebounds.

Jalen Brown made four 3s and went 10 of 13 from the field to finish with a career-high 27 points, while rookie forward Jayson Tatum added 14 points – all in the third quarter – with seven rebounds, four steals and blocks for the Celtics (15-2).

Marcus Morris also scored 14 points, Marcus Smart had 10, while Al Horford was held to seven points after shooting 3 of 11 from the floor for Boston, which rallied from a 16-point deficit to secure the win.

“I think the biggest thing is that we can’t keep digging these holes,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said. “We need to put an emphasis on playing with pace and getting the ball to the other side of the floor.”

Dennis Schroder had 23 points and nine rebounds for Atlanta with Kent Bazemore scoring 19 and John Collins ending with 18 points and seven rebounds off the bench.

Also scoring in double-digits for the Hawks (3-13) were Taurean Prince with 14 points and Luke Babbitt with 11.

Irving and the Boston Celtics will aim for their 16th straight win on Monday when they make the trip to Texas to take on the Dallas Mavericks.

Boston Stuns Golden State, Extends Win Streak To 14

Kyrie Irving of Boston Celtics

BOSTON, Sporting Alert – Jaylen Brown dropped 22 points and all five Boston starters scored in double-figures, and the Celtics rallied to beat the Golden State Warriors 92-88 on Thursday night.

The Celtics (14-2), who trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half, extended their winning streak to 14 games since losing the opening two games of the season.

Brown also had seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks for Boston, which erased a double-digit third-quarter deficit to keep its win streak alive.

The 21-year-old second-year forward admits that he had been playing with a heavy heart after learning about the sudden death of his childhood best friend, Trevin Steede, on Wednesday night.

Brown said he thought about sitting out, but revealed that he was encouraged by Steede’s family.

“It was tough to kind of accept it,” Brown admitted. “Everybody was kind of in shock.”

He added: “He (Steede) inspired me to come out and play and I played in his spirit.”

Al Horford shot 7 of 11 from the floor to finish with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Kyrie Irving abandoned his mask and ended with 16 points, six assists and five rebounds for the home team.

Jayson Tatum had 12 points, including two clutched free throws in the last six-seconds and Marcus Morris scored 12 points as well for the Celtics, who recovered from another slow start to win again.

Kevin Durant scored 24 points for Golden State, Klay Thompson ended with 13 and Draymond Green finished with 11 for the Warriors (11-4), who had won seven straight entering this game.

Stephen Curry was held for just nine points and went 3 of 14 from the field. He also had six rebounds, five assists and four steals for Golden State, which was held below 90 points for the first time this season.

Boston trailed by 17 points with 5:34 left in the second quarter, used a 13-2 run to close the period and cut the gap to 47-42 at the half.

The Celtics put together a 19-0 surge late in the third quarter to take a 68-66 lead with 53.8 left in the quarter.

“It was just one of those nights,” Curry said. “We had control of the game despite how bad we all were shooting. We just didn’t sustain ourselves defensively.”

Both teams were tied 68-68 going into the final quarter.

Celtics 107 Beat Lakers 96, For 10 Straight Wins

Kyrie Irving Boston Celtics

BOSTON, Sporting Alert – Despite suffering more injury difficulties, the Boston Celtics held on to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 107-96 on Wednesday night for their 10th straight victory.

Boston went into the game without star forward Al Horford after he entered the NBA’s concussion protocol, and it suffered another setback when star rookie Jayson Tatum picked up an ankle injury during the game and did not return.

But Aron Baynes matched his career high with 21 points and Kyrie Irving finished with 19 and the Celtics managed to overcome those injuries to extend their win streak.

Baynes, who shot 8 of 12 from the floor, also grabbed eight rebounds, while Irving dished out five assists and grabbed six rebounds in the victory for the Celtics (10-2).

Marcus Morris had 18 points and Terry Rozier added 14 points and eight rebounds for Boston, which shot just 38.8 percent.

Boston coach Brad Stevens said Tatum, who scored five points in a little over nine minutes, had X-rays and was fitted with a walking boot as a precaution.

Brandon Ingram and Jordan Clarkson led the Lakers with 18 points apiece.

Ingram also grabbed seven rebounds with two steals and Clarkson added five boards and two steals in the defeat.

Julius Randle had 16 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 12 points, while Brook Lopez and Kyle Kuzma each scored 10 points for Los Angeles (5-6), who had won two straight before Wednesday night’s defeat.

Lonzo Ball finished with nine points, six assists, five rebounds and four blocks.

The rookie point guard struggled to get his shots off again – going 4 of 15 from the field and missed four his five 3-point attempts.

Boston led by as many as 21 in the second quarter before letting the lead shrink to two with 5:42 left in the third.

However, Los Angeles failed to take advantage of its opponent’s bad shooting night, as they too struggled to make shots and committed six turnovers down the stretch.

Los Angeles Lakers are at the Washington Wizards on Thursday night.

Boston Celtics entertain the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

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