Kyrie Irving isn’t worried about the Celtics’ offense.
Boston struggled on that side of the ball yet still managed to pull out an 84-74 win over the Pacers on Sunday (Monday in Manila) at TD Garden in Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series. Irving, the Celtics star, discussed the victory with reporters after the game.
“They have incredible defenders on their team,” Irving said. “They use their length very well. They control the paint. We just have to do the right things. Getting all those jitters out for the first game, I’m always happy just to get the feel-out game out of the way. Now you can really see where you can improve.”
The Celtics trailed by seven at halftime but held Indiana to just eight third-quarter points as they took control.
“I think that experience, firsthand, is always the best teacher,” Irving said. “You come out, you don’t shoot particularly well. Throughout the regular season, we’ve been in positions like that. … We just had to turn that page. It’s the next play mentality. We weren’t shooting well. … But, it’s a series.
“We come out, any time in the game, runs can happen, anyone can come in and make an impact. And it just doesn’t have to be on the offensive end.”
Irving scored 20 points on 6-of-17 shooting in the win. He also added a game-high seven assists along with five rebounds.
“I’ve been in a few playoff games like that, I’ve been on both ends,” Irving said. “That’s where the really gritty individuals make their mark. Just the focus level on the game plan really comes to the ultimate level and we depend on each other that much more.
“When we’re in the trenches like that, just continue to get stops. You’re always in the game in the playoffs, no matter what, if you keep playing the right way.”
The Celtics and Pacers will return to action Wednesday in Boston in Game 2.