Celtics Notes: Kyrie Irving Breaks Down Costly Miss In Loss To Pacers

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Kyrie Irving drilled a pair of clutch shots to put the Boston Celtics in position to claim a hard-fought road win, but the star point guard wasn’t able to deliver in the closing seconds on a shot he effectively could sink in his sleep.

Irving connected on two 3-pointers in the final 1:08 of the Celtics’ matchup with the Indiana Pacers on Saturday and seemingly had a chance to put the game on ice with 11 seconds to go. But after receiving a pass in the paint from Al Horford, Irving’s layup attempt was off the mark, opening the door for the Pacers.

Indiana wasted no time after Irving’s miss, foregoing a timeout and instead picked up the pace upcourt, leading to a Victor Oladipo go-ahead 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds remaining. The clutch shot proved to be the difference, as Boston fell 102-101 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

It was tough in the moment to wrap your head around how Irving possibly could miss the close-range shot, but he provided a bit of clarity after the game.

“It was just my body position,” Irving said, as seen on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. “That was fully my responsibility to get open and finish that shot regardless of where the pass was. I rushed it, felt like Corey Joseph was on my back, but I got my left hand on the backboard and as I did that it just shorted instead of just finishing the play. I put too much whatever on it and it just shorted and they got the possession and didn’t call timeout, led to a big shot by Vic.”

Irving wasn’t the only one to commit a costly mistake down the stretch, though. After Oladipo’s huge bucket, the Celtics still had more than enough time to put up a potential game-winner. But Boston didn’t even post a shot attempt, as Gordon Hayward threw away the inbound pass to seal Indiana’s win.

Hayward, who hasn’t been playing in the final minutes of tight games this season, admitted he wasn’t expecting to get back in the game before his mishap. Still, the veteran forward owned up for failing to execute.

“…I got to make a better read on that,” Hayward said.

“It’s definitely tough to come in cold like that, but I got to be better.”

Boston typically doesn’t shoot itself in the foot, so the outcome against the Pacers will be a tough one to swallow as the C’s carry on with their road trip.

Here are some other notes from Saturday’s Celtics-Pacers game:

— Marcus Morris had another strong night with a team-high 23 points off the bench. The veteran forward certainly is among the early Sixth Man of the Year Award candidates.

— The C’s second unit had much greater success from beyond the arc than the team’s starters. Morris, Terry Rozier, Aron Baynes and Marcus Smart hit on a combined 9-of-17 from 3-point range, while the starving five collected a 10-for-29 mark from distance.

— While it was a tightly contested matchup for the bulk of the game, the green at one point held a 13-point lead.

— The Pacers took advantage of the Celtics’ mistakes, as Indiana logged 17 points off of Boston’s 14 turnovers. The C’s did, however, block a season-high nine shots.

— The loss snapped Boston’s winning streak at four.

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo
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