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Brad Stevens praises Kyrie Irving’s smarts, demeanor ahead of Celtics’ clash vs. Pacers

Kyrie Irving Brad Stevens

Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving has fallen under harsh criticism for much of this season due to his questionable leadership abilities, but don’t tell that to head coach Brad Stevens, who raves about Irving.

Ahead of the Celtics’ game against the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, Stevens lauded Irving’s attitude:

“He’s a very smart guy, very easy to get along with, very easy to be around,” said Stevens, according to Tom Westerholm of Mass Live.

Irving is coming off of a game against the Miami Heat in which he finished with 23 points and four assists and was actually on the bench during the closing stretch, as the Celtics were opting for the defensive capabilities of their other guards to finish off the win.

The mercurial guard had zero problems with sitting on the pine to close out that game, and afterward, he spoke glowingly of Stevens, saying how the Boston coach has made Irving’s job easier throughout the year.

On the season overall, Irving is averaging 23.9 points, seven assists, five rebounds and 1.6 steals over 33.1 minutes per game while shooting 48.7 percent from the floor, 39.8 percent from three-point range and 87.2 percent from the free-throw line en route to an All-Star appearance.

The 27-year-old spent the first six years of his NBA career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, making four All-Star teams and winning a championship in 2016 before asking for a trade during the summer of 2017.

Irving was then dealt to the C’s in a package that sent Isaiah Thomas and a first-round draft pick to the Cavaliers.