Sweeping an overmatched team may not seem like much, but it gave the Celtics their first four-game winning streak since before the All-Star break. “I just think from a preparation standpoint of preparing for one team has given us a benefit,” Irving said. “It’s given us just an identity of going out and executing a certain game plan. This was our first test against the Pacers. Now we have to carry that on to the next series. But it’s exciting to know that when the pressure is high or you’re asked to be challenged in a certain situation that you have guys that can respond to that and respond pretty well. It’s not always going to be perfect. It’s not always going to be the way you expect it to be individually. But as long as we stay together as a team I think that whatever result it is, it’s just more manageable when everyone’s together instead of just apart.”
It was a wise choice to bypass them for the Pacers as both missed the postseason, but 2018-19 still fell short of his expectations going into the summer as an unrestricted free agent. “The playing situation was just a little different,” said Evans, who was suspended for chronic tardiness for the sixth game in his first season with the Pacers. “Not how I expected it to be. I feel like I was forcing a lot when I came in.”