Celtics G hints at extended rest for sore knee

Indiana Pacers Lance Stephenson NBA

Terry Rozier's runner out of the timeout then rimmed out and the Celtics immediately fouled with 11 seconds to go and the Celtics still under the limit.

"Hats off to our young guys", coach Stevens said after the game, per Celtics reporter Marc D'Amico. "Everybody was flying to move quickly, and it nearly cost us". It's unfortunate timing after Horford scored 20 points and pulled down 8 rebounds on Thursday. When the teams met in Indianapolis on December 18, the Pacers blew a four-point lead in the final 19 seconds, capped by Rozier's steal and dunk — also with 1.5 seconds left.

Already down Gordon Hayward (ankle), Jaylen Brown (concussion) and Al Horford (illness), the Celtics also lost All-Star Kyrie Irving to left knee soreness at halftime Sunday. They are trailing in second place by 3.5 games, but two head-to-head match ups remain before the end of the regular season.

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Before the ball could be inbounded, Oladipo was whistled when his elbow caught Marcus Morris in the face.

"I was about to turn to run and I just saw my man on the floor and heard the whistle blow".

"He got hot", Smart said of Oladipo. "It was nearly like he was running and when he turned he made sure his face hit my elbow". Everyone followed his lead, including 16 points and six rebounds off the bench from Rozier, and a nine-point fourth from Tatum.

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The Duke product has dealt with various ailments in his first campaign with the Celtics, including knee, shoulder and face injuries, and is yet to play more than 75 games in a season since he entered the league in 2011.

"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", Irving said after the game, as quoted on ESPN.

The Pacers outscored Boston 34-20 in the third quarter. "It's aching a little bit more than I want it to now, so I'm just going to take the necessary time".

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A Smart 3-pointer had it a four-point gap with 2:22 left, but Oladipo answered right back with a 3-pointer. Irving had already missed a game last week due to a sore knee, and has indicated that he will not return unless he is close to 100% fit.

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