Celtics

Celtics will have to adjust quickly to life without Hayward

Celtics will have to adjust quickly to life without Hayward

BOSTON – When Kyrie Irving asked Cleveland to trade him this summer, he did so in part to be more of a navigator when it comes to charting out the rest of his basketball career.

But he knows for him to achieve the kind of individual and team success that he wants, he can’t do it alone.

And that maybe more than anything else, is why Irving has struggled in these first two games as far as shooting the ball.

In Boston’s first two games – both losses – Irving has averaged 19.5 points, 4.0 assists and 6.5 rebounds. Those are decent numbers but pale in comparison to what the 25-year-old has been able to do most of his NBA career.

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And while the team is committed to moving on and focus on winning the next game, there’s no getting around the emotional tug they all feel towards Hayward.

“You can throw as many emotions in there as you want, man,” Irving said. “We know how much G (Gordon Hayward) meant to this team and means to this team. Without him on the floor creating those opportunities we were going over in practice, and we saw in preseason and in the first game, that’s a big void to fill. When you think of it in that aspect, of course you want to be frustrated and disappointed. I’m pretty sure that’s not what G wants. So, for us, you just have to continue to exude confidence in the young guys and be ready to step up to the plate. It’s going to be even higher expectations on our guys in this locker room now to try and fill that hole that G (Hayward) left for us. As one of the leaders on this team, it’s my job to pick us up, as well as with Brad and the team with all the guys. We have to look each other in the eyes and know what to expect every single night.”

That’s a lot easier said than done, especially when you consider how quickly things changed for the Celtics at least in the short term with Hayward’s energy.

“I just … as you can see, it’s not an ideal situation,” Irving said. “So, as cliché as it is, everybody is probably going to say that’s life. But it is, man. [expletive] happens. Excuse my language. But it does, man. The individual that we have in Gordon, he’s very special. He’s going to fight like hell to get back on the floor. I know he’s already … there’s a fire burning inside of him. You see the amount of support he got. That should tell you the type of person he is. Not only to the Boston Celtics but to the rest of the league. We want him to get back healthy but we all understand that his health comes first. He’s going to do everything possible to get back on the floor and it’s our job to lift him up.”

Irving was asked whether the team would need to go back to Square One due to Hayward’s injury which will keep him out indefinite at this point.

“No. We don’t have time for square one,” Irving said. “I can tell you that right now. We don’t have time to go back to square one. It’s time to just figure it out, moment to moment, and we’ll be alright. I’ve had the unique opportunity to be in some situations that test your character and this is one of those times.”

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Kyrie is not happy with Zaza Pachulia

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File Photo

Kyrie is not happy with Zaza Pachulia

The Celtics defeated the Knicks in a game that had a little bit of everything Saturday night.

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics to victory and dominated in all of the important situations.

But he came out of the night a little pissed off.

During the Warriors-Thunders game tonight, Russell Westbrook drove to the paint and fell to the ground.

After Westbrook fell to the ground Zaza Pachulia appears to intentionally fall on to the back of his legs.

The play irritated Irving enough for him to air out his thoughts publicly on Instagram.

 

Celtics will need Kyrie to keep delivering a little bit of everything

Celtics will need Kyrie to keep delivering a little bit of everything

It was fitting that Kyrie Irving flirted with a triple-double in Boston’s 121-112 win over New York. Because as Boston focuses on finishing out the regular season well, they’re going to need Irving to deliver a little bit of everything.

And he did just that as Boston (42-19) has strung together back-to-back wins coming out of the all-star break, looking and playing like a very different – and better – team than the one we saw prior to the break which lost three straight and four of five.

Irving finished with 31 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, with most of his damage coming in the third quarter when he scored 15 points to go with four rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.

“The basket was still the same, the ball felt the same,” Irving told NBC Sports Boston following the Celtics win. “Probably leaving my fingers a little bit different; and on back-to-backs, getting my legs a little bit. So, just had to get it up a little more and see it go in once or twice, go to the free throw line and stay composed.”

Indeed, even as the Knicks put together one surge after another, Irving seemed to have an answer whether it’s driving to the basket and knocking down a big shot, or penetrating the Knicks defense and find a teammate for an easy basket whether it be a lay-up or a lob to Jaylen Brown for a dunk.

He gave the game what it needed.

And on this night, the game needed him to give a little bit of everything.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 121-112 win over the New York Knicks which was the Celtics’ sixth win in their last eight appearances at Madison Square Garden.

STARS

Kyrie Irving: When it comes to picking one’s spots when to dominate, there are few in the NBA better at this than Kyrie Irving. He was hands-down the best player on the floor Saturdaynight and was on the cusp of a triple-double before finishing with 31 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

Trey Burke: For those who thought Trey Burke’s NBA career was good as buried, think again. After flaming out with the Utah Jazz and the Washington Wizards, Burke appears to have rediscovered his game in New York. For most of the night, he was New York’s best option scoring the ball. He had 26 points in just under 27 minutes of court time, connecting on 10 of his 19 shot attempts.

STUDS

Jaylen Brown: Irving’s backcourt mate was a problem all game for the New York Knicks. Jaylen Brown had a couple of nice dunks, jumpers and an overall strong night on several levels. He had 24 points on 10-for-17 shooting from the field.

Al Horford: This was a very solid, workmanlike game for the five-time All-star. He tallied his 14th double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds in addition to three blocked shots.  

DUDS

KNICKS 3-POINT SHOOTING: The numbers for Boston’s 3-point defense look a lot better than they played courtesy of New York missing some good looks from deep. For the game, the Knicks were just 6-for-22 shooting on 3’s.

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