For individuals on hand to watch that, though, it simply felt like a play off match, span.
In the Long Run, it had been the Celtics who came out with the 114-112 victory, a triumph which may be summed up with a single succinct thought — just one which may prove to be the gap in that approaching playoff string:
The Pacers do not possess Victor Oladipo.
Boston’s closer, also Indiana’s lack thereof, was ultimately what decided this one, since Irving’s layup with 0.5 seconds left won the match for the Celtics — while the Pacers’ inability to convert the stretch down robbed them with a chance to all but secure home court advantage once these two teams match in the postseason.
“We know at the close of the match, Kyrie is going to have the ball in his hands, he’s going to do what he would can do,” Pacers forward Thaddeus Young said.
“We’ve just got to contain him just a little bit better than we ever did.”
This has been the recurring lament out of each and every participant of their Pacers after that one — with good reason.
But just when it looked like Irving would either have to give up the ball fire a long, contested 3pointer to try to secure the match, Turner bolted back into his man — opening up a lane into the rim which Irving thankfully took, putting the ball in with a half-second left to ship the partisan sell out audience into rapturous parties, and the Pacers to trudge back into their own bench to set one final shot.
Why did Turner do that? Both he and Irving and their particular spin on what happened.
“Happily it went in.”
“When Kyrie needed it on the sideline, my first thought was to snare it,” Turner told ESPN. “I saw him pick up the ball — I’m not sure he carried it, obviously you’re not planning to predict that at the close of the match — but I saw him sort of pickup the balland with our defensive fundamentals, once the ball is picked up, you have to return to your man. But he sort of hesitated, also captured Wes on his back and had a good drive.
“I will be kicking myself around that for a short while, but you have to move on. This really is what it really is.”
Regardless of if Irving’s eye fake or his wizardry with the ball has been the origin, all that matters today is that he was able to elude that double-team and get into the basket, which — followed by Boston tipping away the ensuing inbounds pass on to prevent Indiana from getting off a game-winning shooter — guaranteed the Celtics came away from this match with a desperately-needed success.
However, Friday’s match has been more than enough proof that winning that string will not be any simple task — one that’ll likely probably be made that much harder if the Celtics need to start with it far from your home.
Still, it was the type of operation — in an effort point of view — which was lacking so usually against the Celtics this season. There were multiple times where bodies were strewn over the courtroom following a loose ball as though it had been a scramble to get a fumble on a football area. There clearly was pugnacious defense, directed by Marcus Smart, by the opening point.
There was likewise a line up shift — using Aron Baynes substituting Marcus Morris at the starting line up for the second straight match, as well as Boston moving away from exactly the exact same starting unit (Irving, Smart, Jayson Tatum, Morris and Al Horford) it had used whenever it had all them available as late November. And, given that the competition had been, that line up looks here to remain.
Whether the Celtics can consistently produce this kind of effort over the next few months, even though — after a failure to do all year long — remains to be viewed.
“We’ll learn,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens stated. “I thought we played with harder, with more purpose than we have.
“But, at the close of your afternoon, if we’re going to beat these guys in significantly a lot more than just a regular season match in your home, you’re definitely going to need to put them off the glassand you better get people loose balls which people didn’t get overdue.
“That’s why they are who they are. I believe that they’re really excellent “
The Pacers have earned plaudits from around the globe for how they’ve lived in the aftermath of losing Oladipo into some season-ending ruptured right quad limb back in January. However, Indiana’s lack of a closer has been clearly on display from the Celtics, since the ball too usually has been left in point guard Darren Collison’s hands to try to make a play — or, more often than not, have a shot in the clock.
Had Oladipo been the sole with all the ball in those situations, such as he had been past year, perhaps this match plays out otherwise. Needless to say, had Young made a wide open layup with 43 seconds to go, or had Turner not left Irving if he had been immobilized over the wing, perhaps this match would have played out differently, too.
“We didn’t get fractures to Night,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said.” [However, ] you have to produce those breaks”
That is why the Celtics have Kyrie Irving — to be the gap in those moments, and to create people fractures any team needs to win games at the highest level, against the best competitions.
This has been the gap between these two teams Friday night. It also could possibly be the gap between them in the postseason.