Irving, Morris lead Celtics’ rally past Pacers in Game 1
Bwith 0.1 seconds remaining to put the Celtics ahead 64-53. The lead grew to 84-62 on a 3-pointer by Tatum with 3:34 remaining.
Stevens went with Jaylen Brown in the starting lineup in place of Marcus Smart, who is out with a torn left oblique.
But after Boston committed four turnovers in the first four minutes of the game, Stevens quickly adjusted, inserting Morris and Hayward.
The change paid off with Morris going 3 of 4 in the period, including two 3-pointers, and scoring 12 points. No other Celtics player had more than two points. While his team was able to recover from a dismal start, Stevens said the Pacers’ defense deserved credit for making things difficult on them throughout the game.
“Those guys guarded their butts off,” Stevens said. “That game looked like a 1980s playoff game in a lot of ways with the score. But it’s tough. Those guys are physical . ... We have a lot to get better at.” BIG DAY
In his first playoff game as a Celtic, Irving became just third player in franchise history to have 20plus points, five-plus assists and five-plus rebounds in his postseason debut with the team. He joined Isaiah Thomas in 2015 and JoJo White in 1972.
Patriots team owner Robert Kraft sat courtside beside Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck. Kraft was charged with two counts of solicitation in January after police said he twice paid to have sex with employees at a Florida spa.
Boston hosts Game 2 on Wednesday.