Boston (20-13): 121– Philadelphia (22-13): 114
Kyrie Irving: 40 PTS 10 REB 3 AST 1 STL
Jayson Tatum: 23 PTS 10 REB 1 AST 2 STL/BLK
Marcus Morris: 23 PTS 6 REB 3 AST 1 BLK
Joel Embiid: 34 PTS 16 REB 2 AST 2 BLK
Jimmy Butler: 24 PTS 5 REB 4 AST 1 STL/BLK
Ben Simmons: 11 PTS 14 REB 8 AST
While Read Dead Redemption 2 was a great Christmas gift, the real gift was from the Boston Celtics and more specifically, Kyrie Irving. With 20+ family members in the crowd he walked into the locker room pre-game and told his teammates, “I’m acting up tonight” and he sure did. He was as locked in as I’ve seen him and he put on an exhibition on offense.
He took this game by the horns and and he wouldn’t let them lose. It started right from the jump as in the first quarter he scored 16 on 7-11 shooting from the floor and he was doing it from everywhere. Layups, pull up threes, mid-range jumpers, floaters, literally every shot in the book. He was in complete control and not only was he making a difference scoring, he led the team in rebounds and offensive rebounds. He was relentless on both ends and he was such a difference maker
For Philly, Joel Embiid was on another level as he had a monster game posting 34 and 16 boards. He was a menace down low and he single handedly kept Philly in it early on as Jimmy Butler struggled from the floor. On top of that they basically got nothing from the bench in the first half as they went 0-7 from the field and were a combined -33. J.J. Redick also chipped in 15 of his 17 points in the first half and went 4-4 on threes to aide Embiid in keeping the Sixers afloat.
Butler found his groove in the third and hit some big shots after the Celtics opened up a 73-63 lead. The Celtics had an opportunity to open up a big lead and his efforts helped them claw their way back into it. Things got knotted up at 81 apiece with 2:28 left in the third and from there the two teams battled all the way through the final buzzer and into overtime.
Let’s simply fast forward into overtime and we’ll pick things up there. After two Embiid free throws and a bucket by Butler, the Celtics saw themselves down 112-108 with around 3:30 left. Then on the next play, after getting tangled up with Ben Simmons down low, Smart shoved him and picked up up tech stretching the lead to 113-108 after the free throw. What ensued next was nothing short of cold blooded and it was courtesy of Kyrie Irving. With 2:01 left, he came up and buried a tough fade away three from the top of the key and then on the very next play, he set the Garden on fire. Off of an outlet pass from Tatum, he dribbled up to the wing, pulled it, and hysteria commenced as his 40th point went through. I’ve watched it at least 15 times and every time I get the same chills.
It was nothing but net and afterwards Irving freaked out with emotion. For someone as stoic as Kyrie usually, seeing him just lose it was something to watch. After some solid defense and an offensive rebound the Celtics ultimately finished it off with a win on Christmas 121-114.
Player of the Game: Kyrie Irving
The whole game recap was basically about Kyrie so yes; he is indeed the player of the game. Check out the highlights, he was incredible and deserves all of the credit in the world for his performance.
He’s one of the best scorers in the clutch as he relishes the moment. Just look at those clutch numbers, he’s doing it on both ends and he’s one of the coldest dudes in the game and he showed that last night.
A date with the Houston Rockets in Houston tomorrow night 12/27 at 8:00 pm et.