Make no mistake about it, the Boston Celtics really want to win their very first matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers, if only to do it for their new addition Kyrie Irving.
Gordon Hayward speaking with ESPN agrees that it’s a highly anticipated game on the schedule.
“It’s a huge game for Kyrie, and I think one we’re all looking to play our best for him, not only for the team but for him. We know it’s a big game for him.”
Irving, on the other hand, has taken the low road approach and continues to downplay any overhyping of the matchup almost everyone else is waiting to see. In fact, he says he’s not expecting an emotional night when he gets ready to play against his old teammates and downplays the upcoming hype of the night’s most anticipated matchup, but ready or not, it’s coming.
Center Al Horford has been keeping an eye on his teammate because he knows what the situation is like first hand, but sees Irving is ready to go at the same time.
“Kyrie is really approaching this like, I feel like, any other game. He’s really locked in, he understands what we need to do, as far as our group. He’s been very focused on us and what we need to do.”
Not only is Irving excited about playing for the Celtics, but says the team has given him new energy and wants to keep his focus on helping the organization win more than focusing on a single game.
“Just look at the banners around [the team’s practice facility], man. This is every single day we understand what the tradition and culture was built here and what we’re trying to uphold, and what we’re trying to accomplish as the current Boston Celtics players.
“It’s a high price, and it’s high expectations, but it’s well worth it. It’s so exciting to see just the amount of culture that’s here, man. That’s what I’m more excited about. I feel it, I know it.”
So the more questions that come his way about the Cavaliers, the more Irving continues to look forward and directs his focus on what he’s trying to accomplish, not what people are saying.
What can we expect on Tuesday night when the Celtics visit the Cavs to battle it out, at least from Irving’s perspective?
“It’s a give and take. I know a lot about them, they know a lot about me,” said Irving. I’m looking forward to the challenge because now you’ve just gotta really think the game on your feet out there. And I know we’ve got a great coaching staff that are committed to preparing us.”
If there are any games to look forward to, this is one of them.