Celtics news: Kyrie Irving reaches stat line last made by Larry Bird in 1986
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Celtics’ Kyrie Irving reaches stat line last pulled off by Larry Bird in 1986

Larry Bird, Kyrie Irving, Celtics

The 2018-19 season hasn’t exactly gone as planned for Kyrie Irving. Despite the superstar routinely rubbing Boston Celtics fans the wrong way of late, though, it will be hard for the Green and Gold faithful to be too frustrated with Irving.

Irving scored 30 points, grabbed nine rebounds and doled out 11 assists in his team’s victory over the upstart Atlanta Hawks on Saturday, a line he also put up one game earlier in a win over the Sacramento Kings on Thursday. The last Celtics player to up those numbers? None other than the “Hick from French Lick” himself, Hall of Famer Larry Bird.

Despite his multiple incendiary comments to the media, Kyrie Irving has managed arguably the finest season of his career in 2018-19. He is averaging 23.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and a career-high 7.1 assists per game on elite shooting splits of 49.5 percent overall, 41.1 percent from beyond the arc and 87.0 percent from the free throw line.

The notoriously defense-averse Irving has re-committed himself on that side of the ball too, helping his team to the fifth-best defensive rating in basketball.

In a chat with Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes earlier this week, Irving accepted responsibility for his frequent media-related gaffes throughout the past few months.

“The way I’ve handled things, it hasn’t been perfect,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes that I take full responsibility for. I apologize. I haven’t done it perfectly. I haven’t said the right things all the time. I don’t want to sit on a place like I’m on a pedestal from anybody. I’m a normal human being that makes mistakes.”

Boston, 43-27, sits at fifth place in the Eastern Conference, one and-a-half games behind the fourth-placed Indiana Pacers.