Celtics’ Kyrie Irving says recent chats with Brad Stevens, Danny Ainge helped him
Boston Celtics All-Star Kyrie Irving will admit that this season hasn’t gone as he had hoped. His team has played extremely well at times, but there have also been a few head-scratching results along the way. This has been a trying year for Irving in particular, but he says the recent discussions he had with Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge have helped him regain the focus he needs for a playoff push:
Kyrie Irving said recent chats with Stevens and Ainge helped him. Said the business part of starring in the NBA “makes this terrible for me.”
“The basketball part is just I have to keep that fun. That’s where I’m great, that’s where I love to play, be around my teammates.”
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) March 6, 2019
Coming into this season, the Celtics were projected to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. They are still viewed as one of the best squads in the East, but they’re only sitting in the No. 5 spot, 2.5 games behind the Philadelphia 76ers.
Stevens says he and Irving had a lengthy talk after Sunday’s loss to the Houston Rockets:
“We talked for a long time after the Houston game,” Stevens said of Irving. “You could tell that was something that really hit him in that moment — that there is a lot of year left. These will either be a part of the story that just stays consistent and you’ll be able to write the story now, or these will be blips on the radar, and you’ll be like, ‘meh, this turned into something really good.'”
Irving’s talk with Stevens seems to have left a positive impression. In their next outing, Boston took down the Golden State Warriors on their home court in impressive fashion, 128-95. In 30 minutes of action, Irving recorded 19 points, 11 assists, five rebounds and two steals. With the win, the C’s improved to 6-6 on the road against the Western Conference:
“I think we played with purpose all the way through. We were very businesslike the whole night, even at halftime and just now after the game,” coach Stevens told ESPN following Tuesday night’s victory over the Warriors. “We know we haven’t played like that enough but It’s encouraging as a reminder that we can.”
Boston went 8-for-28 from 3-point land in Sunday’s loss to Houston, including 1-of-13 in the first half. However, in Tuesday’s win, the Celtics posted a 14-of-34 mark from downtown, with four coming from Gordon Hayward.
The Celtics will look to keep their momentum rolling on Wednesday night, when they’ll travel to Sacramento for a matchup against the Kings. Tip-off is set for 10:00 p.m. ET.