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Celtics coach Brad Stevens says Kyrie Irving’s knee ‘buckled’

Kyrie Irving, Brad Stevens

Saturday night was a bad one for the Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics. Still, Brad Stevens’ team should feel lucky it didn’t go even worse.

Irving left his team’s dispiriting loss to the L.A. Clippers in the second quarter after tweaking his right knee. He suffered the injury while trying to fight through a screen set by Los Angeles center Ivica Zubac as guard Garrett Temple, both just acquired at the trade deadline, ran behind the arc for a three-point attempt. Shortly thereafter, the Celtics announced that Irving had incurred a right knee sprain and would be unable to return to the game.

The 26-year-old will be re-evaluated on Sunday. Stevens, though, certainly didn’t allay any lingering fears about Irving’s status after the game, telling reporters that the superstar point guard’s knee “buckled.”

Irving’s absence no doubt contributed to Boston’s epic collapse against the Clippers. The Celtics used a 43-20 first quarter to take a 21-point lead into halftime, seemingly on their way to a comfortable victory despite missing Irving. But Doc Rivers’ squad stormed out of intermission, cutting Boston’s lead to five points heading into the fourth quarter, then outscored the home team 42-26 in the final stanza to win going away.

Boston, 35-21, fell to fifth in the Eastern Conference with the loss.