Kyrie Irving felt his 37-point display for the Celtics against the Pacers represented the end of a “long journey” back from injury.
The former Cavaliers star is playing for the Celtics in the playoffs for the first time in this series, having been ruled out of the postseason with a knee issue in his first season in Boston in 2017-18.
The 27-year-old point guard was a regular thorn in the Celtics’ side in the playoffs while with the Cavs, but on Wednesday he led Boston to a 2-0 series lead over the Pacers with a 99-91 win in Game 2.
This performance was a long time coming for Irving, and he said there was “nothing like” the feeling of turning it on for Boston.
“It was pretty peaceful,” he told reporters. “I’m just happy to be able to be part of a lineage of great players that have put on some unbelievable performances here in the TD [Garden] as well as the old Garden.
SAME KYRIE pic.twitter.com/3stUSE02WI
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 18, 2019
“It’s really special to know that the fans here are rooting us on. They want everything to be perfect — it’s not the reality of the game, but we do our best to go out there and lay it all out there on the line.
“We throw ourselves into the game and hope for some great results. You’ve got to have some honest resolve.
“It felt good, good to be here in this position, playing in this arena. It’s been a long journey from having those two knee surgeries and watching the team last year.
“Now I’m finally getting the chance to lay some up for the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs. There’s nothing like it.”