Boston, MA - The NHL's grand, holiday-based tradition sees teams playing outdoors on New Year's Day. For the MLB, there are often special celebrations for Mothers Day and Independence Day in the summer. And in the NFL, it's tradition for the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys to play on Thanksgiving Day. The NBA, however, typically sends ten of its best teams to duke it out on Christmas Day.
This year, the Boston Celtics were able to be part of this tradition when they were slated to play the Philadelphia 76ers, their division rival with a two game advantage over the third place Celtics in the Atlantic Division, on Christmas. And the game ended up being the best one of the day.
Towards the tail end of the game, the 76ers, led by Joel Embiid who scored thirty-four points, had an advantage over Boston, but the Celtics stormed back to force overtime against Philly. In overtime, Boston dominated with a 13-6 scoring advantage to win the game 121-114, in what was the most buzzed about game on the holiday.
Most of the buzz surrounded Kyrie Irving, who absolutely dominated for Boston, as he scored forty points in the game, including two clutch, back-to-back three point scores in overtime that became the signature moment of the season for Boston.
This electric win did not allow for a wave for Boston to coast on, though, as they ran into a wall known as the Houston Rockets. Houston has been bent out of shape this season, as compared to the previous, but they seem to be regaining their footing, especially as they downed the Celtics 127-113 behind an astounding forty-five point showing from James Harden. Boston also allowed Houston's Clint Capela to drop twenty-four points and grab eighteen rebounds in what was a poor defensive showing.
Kyrie once again emerged as the star for Boston with twenty-three points and eleven assists. But for Boston to regain some sort of consistent footing, they're going to need more than just Kyrie Irving to step up.