Brad Stevens jokes that Kyrie Irving isn’t playing vs. Bulls because of inability to miss free throws
It goes without saying that Brad Stevens is one of the most intelligent coaches in the NBA. After an extraordinary coaching career at Butler, Stevens has successfully transitioned to the NBA, leading the Celtics through their rebuilding phase.
Stevens has seen many players come and go, which include Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Avery Bradley. However, Stevens got lucky when the Celtics traded for Kyrie Irving, one of the best point guards in the NBA. For Stevens, it has been relatively simple incorporating Irving into his system. As a result, the Celtics are currently the second best team in the Eastern Conference, even ahead of their conference rivals, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Though, the Celtics lost a tough game to the Houston Rockets on Saturday. In the final moments of the game, Irving had a chance to force overtime if he could miss intentionally miss a free throw and allow his team to convert a last minute shot.
Instead, Irving made both free throws, despite all of his efforts to miss one. After Stevens announced that Irving would not be in the Celtics’ lineup on Monday due to knee soreness, the brilliant head coach poked fun at Irving for his inability to intentionally miss free throws, per Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe.
Asked Stevens about missing free throws on purpose–or failing to against Houston–and he had jokes. “That’s really why we’re benching [Kyrie] tonight. I mean the guy can’t miss a free throw. We tried it all, and hopefully this message gets through that he’s not playing tonight”
In all seriousness, Irving’s knee injury could be serious as the Celtics attempt to take the Eastern Conference’s top spot from the Toronto Raptors. Still, Stevens feels comfortable enough to make jokes about Irving’s seemingly horrible free-throw missing display. This could indicate that the dynamic point guard is all right.