Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving scored 39 points as the Celtics came back from the 22-point deficit to beat the Suns 116-109 in overtime. In this picture, Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics handles the ball during the second half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on Nov. 8, 2018, in Phoenix, Arizona. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics pulled off a great escape when they came back from 22 points down at one point in the game to beat the Phoenix Suns 116-109 in overtime with Kyrie Irving leading the charge with 39 points on the night.

The Celtics made a poor start to the game as they were outscored 32-13 in the first quarter by the Suns and they were unable to close the gap at half-time as they were again outscored in the second. The Boston team, who are among the favorites to progress to the NBA Finals from the Eastern Conference were a different team in the second-half.

Irving led the charge as they outscored the Suns by 20 points in the next two quarters to tie the game at 100-100 when regulation time ended. The Celtics point guard scored 39 points, seven rebounds and six assists and was ably supported by Marcus Morris off the bench with 17 points and eight rebounds.

Jaylen Brown also managed 17 points, the only other starting player to get into double figures, while Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford managed just 19 points between them to make it yet another disappointing night for the regular starters.

It was the fourth quarter that changed the game for the Celtics as they outscored the Suns 35-20 and for the final five and a half minutes of regulation time they went on a 24-8 run when they were a perfect 9-for-9 from the field. They were three down with six seconds on the clock and it was Morris that got the bucket from beyond the arc after the Suns put all their focus on keeping Irving from taking a shot.

Brad Stevens did have some encouraging words for his team after the win, but admitted the first two quarters were “uninspired.” He was also glad to see the team has not lost its never-say-die mentality from last season.

“To our guys’ credit, after a super-uninspired two quarters, I thought we played pretty well,” Stevens said after they recorded an unlikely comeback.

“It’s good to know that we’ve got some of that stuff we [had] last year in that locker room,” the Celtics head coach added.

Irving has stepped up his game since his dreadful game against the Detroit Pistons on 27 October when he managed just three points in 23 minutes. In the five games since, he has averaged 29.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game.

The Celtics guard agreed with his coach the team were not themselves in the first two quarters, stating: “That team in the second half, I know who that is.”

Irving also admitted patience was key this season and is certain that the team will be “ok” going into the rest of the campaign.

“We’re going to be OK. We’re going to be fine. I’m going to make sure of it ... Brad’s going to make sure of it,” he added.