Danny Ainge says Boston without Kyrie Irving narrative is ‘completely illogical’
The Boston Celtics have seen success without star point guard Kyrie Irving in recent days, actually winning the last five games they’ve had to play without him — a strange trend that has led some to believe the team plays better without its leading scorer.
President Danny Ainge scoffed at the notion, pointing to its ridiculous nature.
“It’s completely illogical. It makes no sense,” Danny Ainge said on the Toucher & Rich Show, according to John Karalis of MassLive. “If you just look at the data over the past two years our team has been so much better. It wasn’t but a month ago that we were trying to figure out ‘how in the world are we going to score without Kyrie on the court.’ And everybody was struggling and going through their challenges. I mean now we’re getting a lot of good play out of a lot of good guys.
“The last couple of nights Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, they’re playing great basketball. And Jaylen Brown has really stepped up his game over the past couple of months even and really bought into his role off the bench. So I feel like we just all need to all play well, but Kyrie is by far our most efficient offensive player, without question. And our team, when Kyrie is on the court over the past two years, is by far more efficient with Kyrie playing than when he’s not. So no, I think it’s ridiculous to think.”
The Celtics have won eight of their 10 games without Irving this season, but out of the last five wins, two have come against the bottom-dwelling Cleveland Cavaliers and another two against sub .500 teams like the Charlotte Hornets and the Detroit Pistons. Out of the 10, the only win against a team with a winning record was against the Brooklyn Nets, who are only a game above .500 at 30-29.
Boston will need Irving at full strength and his teammates will need to jell with him sooner or later — especially with others like the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors recently adding reinforcements to make a run for the Eastern Conference crown.