They have won 10 of their last 12 games, with their two losses during that stretch coming in close games to the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers.
With just a few minutes remaining in the second quarter, Irving was guarding Garrett Temple - who was making his Clippers debut after arriving in a deadline day trade from the Memphis Grizzlies - and tried to follow him around a maze of screens. At one point down 28 points, it was the biggest comeback in Clippers history.More news: French 'Yellow Vest' Marches Continue for 13th Weekend
Gordon Hayward scored 19 points and Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier had 16 apiece for Boston.
The Celtics led by as many as 28 in the quarter and still were up 20 when Irving came out, but the Clippers outscored them 28-12 in the third quarter and 42-26 in the fourth en route to a 123-112 victory.More news: Behold frozen 'ghost apples,' courtesy of the polar vortex
The Celtics may yet make an addition on the buyout market - perhaps Marcus Morris' twin Markieff or Enes Kanter - but they can not afford to lose Irving for an extended period of time. "I told them literally to keep the game as simple as possible; imagine you're in high school in a park and you're trying to win and there's no next".
Stevens also said Irving's knee appeared to "buckle" and he expects more tests to be run. The Celtics went 25 for 31 from the free throw line, snapping a streak of two straight games without missing a foul shot.More news: Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Childish Gambino reportedly turned down the Grammys
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