During an appearance on Boston sports radio 98.5 the Sports Hub last week, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge suggested that knee soreness might be something that Irving might have to "manage the rest of his career". But the Celtics have a comfortable seven-game lead over the red-hot Pacers, so they are likely locked into that No. 2 seed.
Whatever the situation is concerning Kyrie Irving and his knees, one thing is clear: his play hasn't deteriorated.
Guard Jaylen Brown isn't expected to play this week after suffering a concussion on a nasty fall last Thursday, and reserve big man Daniel Theis will undergo an MRI on Monday after he suffered a knee injury in the second half of Sunday's loss.
"I would assume that we would tread slowly", Stevens said of Irving, per the team's official account.
"I think [rest] will probably be the best thing, just instead of kind of hoping it gets better over the two or three days that it usually does", said Irving. Right now, I'm not able to do that. He indicated that there was a possibility he could miss Boston's Wednesday night tilt with the Washington Wizards.
Meanwhile, head coach Brad Stevens isn't going to go against Irving's interests. "We were just trying to figure out ways to keep ourselves in it".
Oladipo followed up a quiet first half (seven points) with a 13-point third quarter.
IN quickly erased a 10-point halftime deficit, scoring 11 straight points: back-to-back 3-pointers from Bojan Bogdanovich and Joseph, and then five points in a row from Oladipo, to take a 60-57 lead.
Rozier drilled a 3-pointer out of a timeout with 1:02 left, Smart rebounded a miss as the clock ticked under a minute to play and Tatum got the line for a tie game with 36.5 seconds remaining.
Jayson Tatum missed the first of two free throws 17 seconds later, and Oladipo drove for his 25th point and a 95-90 IN lead with 1:14 left. The Pacers went back up four before the Celtics fought back once more to give themselves a chance to pull it out at the buzzer.
"Obviously, it was a tough situation for our team", Stevens said. "I have a lot of respect for them". "I thought they battled really hard today".