If Kyrie Irving can continue to pull out games like this down the stretch and into the postseason, believe me: the Celtics will never have to deal with any questions about the team’s leadership.
In a Thursday night meeting with the Sacramento Kings, the C’s first game back in Boston after a four-game California excursion, the Celtics found themselves down by as much as 17 points. And even when the Green clawed back for their first lead of the second half, it was immediately countered with 10-point run from the Kings.
But it was Irving that picked the Celtics up — with 31 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds, good for just the second triple-double of his career — and led a successful comeback in a 126-120 final at TD Garden.
“The hardest game is the first game coming back from a road trip” Irving said after the win. “It’s always going to be a dogfight no matter who you’re playing against, but obviously when you have a team fighting for playoff position it’s going to be that type of intensity and you’ve got to be ready for it.”
Irving got some help in the second half, though, as Jaylen Brown connected on five of his eight field goals (including three of four from deep) in the second half, while Marcus Morris added a half-high 14 points for the Green.
“We used our experience and a lot of the things we’re great at: attitude, toughness, things we can control, effort, and got back in the game,” said Irving.
The Atlanta Hawks come to Boston on Saturday for a 12:30 p.m. meeting with the C’s.