“He has the physique, the character and the fitness for it. I am certainly not afraid he could handle that level.” Manchester United’s chief scout Jim Lawlor saw Strootman in action against Russia during the Under-21 Championships, although, as yet, new Red Devils chief David Moyes is yet to make a move. “Kevin has ambition but it is not in my hands,” said Dekker. “From PSV it would have to be a step up to a good club. “It is not simple though because the price will be expensive and not many teams can afford him. “The clubs know what he can do now. It is up to them whether they want to reach an agreement with PSV and take him.” Kevin Strootman’s heart remains set on a move to the Premier League, despite interest from across Europe. Press Association The PSV Eindhoven midfielder has already won 18 caps for Holland, skippering his country in their World Cup qualifying win over Romania in March. Strootman has just returned from Israel when he led his country to the semi-finals of the European Under-21 Championship. Serie A heavyweights Napoli are the latest to declare an interest and Strootman’s agent Chiel Dekker has also confirmed clubs from France and Russia have expressed a liking for the 23-year-old. However, Strootman wants to play in the Premier League. “He is focussed on England because that would suit his style,” said Dekker.
“They put the ball in Kyrie’s hands,” Young said. “As you can see, he had 37 tonight. When they put the ball in that guy’s hands, he makes things happen. He made some tough shots, and I think that was the ending factor for us.”That dynamic is not going to change. The Pacers go back to Indiana licking their wounds, having suffered brutal droughts in both games. They had chances to win both games, and hope remains that returning to their home floor will push them to play a more complete 48 minutes.But no matter how much they improve at home, that fourth quarter will be lingering. That’s where the Celtics can control this series, and the Pacers just don’t seem to have the manpower to address that. BOSTON — There was a moment, with 5:25 to play in Game 2 of the Celtics-Pacers Eastern Conference playoff series, when you could almost see Pacers coach Nate McMillan’s heart break.McMillan had his hand out as soon as Boston guard Kyrie Irving took a pass on the left wing from Terry Rozier. Irving had an open look from about 26 feet away and stepped cleanly into a jumper as McMillan implored big man Myles Turner to come and contest. It was no use. NBA PLAYOFFS 2019:Full schedule | Picks from first round to FinalsIrving launched the shot and McMillan, standing behind him, began calling a timeout even before the shot went down.WE REPEAT, KYRIE IS 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/2SlBKPyxqc— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 18, 2019The shot gave Irving eight points in the fourth quarter (he had 37 in the game) and gave Boston its first lead as the Celtics came back from a 12-point deficit to win 99-91 and take a 2-0 series lead. It also gave an indication of just how steep a hill the Pacers have to climb in this series — it will be won and lost in the fourth quarter, and they’re simply overmatched in late-game situations.”Irving is the guy that initiates most of that,” McMillan said. “He’s a hard cover. When he is breaking you down and you’re forced to have to help, he is finding guys on the perimeter, in transition. Then they’re hurting us with 3s. You try to keep it in front, keep the ball in front, so that you don’t have to collapse and give as much help and you can stay with the perimeter to guard the 3 and rebound the ball.”But that’s hard when you are sitting out there on an island by yourself, trying to keep Irving in front of you.”The Pacers did try to trap Irving and get the ball out of his hands after that shot. But the Celtics are loaded with fourth-quarter options.They start with Irving, as McMillan said, and bait defenses into overreacting on the many herks and jerks of his drives to the rim. That allows Irving to move the ball and get Jayson Tatum (10 of his 26 points in the fourth) involved. Or Gordon Hayward (six points in the fourth). Or Al Horford (four in the fourth). End result: a 31-12 Celtics fourth-quarter advantage that left the Pacers frustrated through and through. They committed two turnovers in the final 12 seconds, struggling to even get the ball inbounded.The Pacers just… threw the game away pic.twitter.com/QJjuc22I9W— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) April 18, 2019So it has gone for the Pacers in the last few months — the effort is there and the games are close, but when the stretch run hits and the game is to be won or lost, Indiana has nowhere to turn.”There’s always been one quarter that kills us in the second half. It’s either the third or fourth quarter,” forward Thaddeus Young said. “It was the third quarter [in Game 1] and as you can see, tonight it was the fourth. We only scored 12 points and they scored 31. It’s always tough. We are getting good looks and the shots are not falling… “The biggest thing, like I’ve always said, is we got to put together a 48-minute game, and we haven’t been able to do that.”This has been the issue for the Pacers since losing star guard Victor Oladipo to a ruptured quad tendon in January. Before Oladipo was injured, Indiana was the best team in the league in net rating, plus-29.5, during clutch situations (games within five points with five minutes to play) with a 14-6 record.After Oladipo went down, the Pacers were 21st in clutch net rating, minus-7.3.”What can you do?” point guard Darren Collison said. “Victor is not here. It’s up to us here to make up for that.”MORE: Today’s NBA scores, updates, TV scheduleBut things get much easier for the Celtics in close games, with a star like Irving who can knock down 3-pointers and always manages to get a decent look at the rim when he drives, no matter how many contortions of his body are required en route.The Pacers don’t have that. They were 4 for 17 in the fourth quarter on Wednesday, with leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic logging six points on 2-for-6 shooting and Wesley Matthews making just 1 of 4.Young summed up the Celtics’ late-game strategy neatly.