This is why the Boston Celtics felt so comfortable breaking up their core to acquire Kyrie Irving, and this is why the C’s look like a legitimate contender to play in the NBA Finals.

The Celtics on Monday extended their winning streak to 16 games with a dramatic 110-102 overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks. Actually, check that: Irving willed the C’s to a seemingly improbable win with easily the best game of his Boston career and one of the best games of his life.

Irving’s final line: 47 points on 16-of-22 shooting (10-for-11 from the line), six assists, three rebounds and a steal. And when the Celtics needed him the most, Irving came up the biggest. He carried the team when they went cold in the second and third quarters, and his overall play was a big reason Boston erased a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

He absolutely took over in overtime, scoring 10 points and ensuring the Celtics left Big D with a W.

It’s becoming clearer and clear that the best thing to happen to the Celtics’ long-term title prospects was Irving’s mounting discontent in Cleveland that ultimately led him to force a trade from the Cavs.