Boston Celtics

NBA Playoffs 2019: Kyrie Irving says 'this is what Boston traded for me for' in needing to bounce back in Game 3

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Eric Bledsoe, Kyrie Irving [NBA Getty Images]

The Milwaukee Bucks responded in the best way possible to getting blown out on their home court in Game 1.

They annihilated the Boston Celtics by a score of 123-102 in Game 2 to even the series at 1-1 as these teams gear up for Games 3 and 4 at the TD Garden in Boston.

MORE: Antetokounmpo, Middleton star as Bucks rout Celtics in Game 2 win

The Celtics' All-Star guard Kyrie Irving was tremendous in their Game 1 win, but his Game 2 performance was one to be forgotten.

It was just the second time in 58 career playoff games that Irving was held under 10 points, with the first coming in 2015 with the Cleveland Cavaliers in a game that he only played 12 minutes due to a knee injury.

Irving couldn't get things going to start the game. shooting 2-for-12 from the field in the first half, but his team trailed by just four points at the break with a chance to take a 2-0 lead if their star guard could find a rhythm.

Unfortunately for the Celtics, Irving never found his stroke in this one, finishing 4-for-18 (22.2%) from the field and 1-for-5 (20.0%) from beyond the arc with just four assists.

You could make the case that it was the worst playoff performance of his career, but Irving wasn't disgruntled by it.

"Some shots are gonna go in, some shots aren't," Irving told the media in his post-game press conference. "I was trying to get to my spots but they were sending three (players) over every place I went on the court, and that's a sign of respect."

He continued to credit the Bucks' defensive approach, but also admitted he needs to be better moving forward. "I have to be more efficient in controlling the tempo of the game, the pace and making (better) reads around that midrange area."

This was the first game this postseason that Irving had less than seven assists in a game. His 8.4 assists per game average going into Game 2 was the second-best among the players still competing in the playoffs.

It wasn't just an off shooting night for Irving, but his playmaking took a hit as well. And Kyrie wasn't the only player on his team to have an off-game - both Jayson Tatum (5 points) and Gordon Hayward (5 points) underperformed in the Celtics' blowout loss.

When the media asked Irving after the game if he feels an extra burden being the lone All-Star on his team for the first time in the playoffs, he said there is no such thing.

"There's no extra burden. This is what I signed up for. This is what Boston traded for me for. Being able to get back in the trenches and get ready for another battle on Friday - this is what you live for."

His team will certainly need him to bounce back from this performance if they're going to retake the series lead with two home games coming up.

Irving is ready for the challenge, simply stating, "Game 3 - I'm looking forward to it."

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