Celtics' Kyrie Irving suggests longer period of rest for sore knee

Celtics Vs Pacers Preview Starting Lineups Odds Predictions TV Injuries | NBA 3/11/18

8:47 AM EDT

Down by double digits in the first half, Victor Oladipo and the Pacers came to life in the second half when Irving exited the game to hold off the shorthanded Boston Celtics 99-97 on Sunday night at TD Garden in Boston.

Irving was uncertain when asked if he might eventually need more work on the knee.

Marcus Morris drew an offensive foul on Oladipo during an inbounds play with 1.5 seconds left for a last-gasp chance, but Terry Rozier front-rimmed an off-balance shot, and the Pacers walked off as winners.

The knee has been problematic of Irving throughout the season, and the veteran guard most recently missed a March 5 win in Chicago because of it.

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"Yeah, I think that would probably be the best thing", Irving said. The Celtics are firmly entrenched in the No. 2 spot, now trailing the Raptors by 3.5 games (though two head-to-head matchups remain) and sitting 7 games ahead of the surging Pacers. They next visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday. All-Star Al Horford also did not play Sunday night due to an illness. Rozier missed a driving layup with 15 ticks to play, and Oladipo made two free throws with 10.4 left.

"(Bojan) Bogdonovic has been great all year", said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. "I just got to do that".

As the buzzer sounded, Cory Joseph got tangled up with Morris and Marcus Smart, bringing all three to the floor; players milled around and officials kept them separated but tensions were quickly soothed.

Considering Boston (46-20) has won six of its last seven games, clinched a playoff berth quicker than any Stevens-coached team, you can understand why he wants to keep his roster and rotations as status quo as possible.

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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. "I thought a few days, usually it just subsides, but it's been aching for a little bit, so I'm just going to do what's necessary in order to get back where I need to be to feeling comfortable".

Indiana's 99-97 win in Boston gave the Pacers a win leading into their toughest week of the season.

The Celtics fought hard for a 50-40 halftime lead, limiting Oladipo to just 3-for-9 from the field in the first half.

While not as important as Kyrie Irving, Theis is still an important factor off the Celtics bench.

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