Kyrie is not happy with Zaza Pachulia

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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.

 

Green light at the end of the Patriots tunnel

Green light at the end of the Patriots tunnel

Defeat is not a lonely venture. We share the darkness with our neighbors, and we brood in our doom together, in solidarity. And while you may find comfort in the shared malaise of the Patriots’ Super Bowl loss, you can also find comfort in the excitement of a new adventure. A new purpose to pursue. A new team to root for…The Boston Celtics.

As the great philosophers Semisonic said, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.” What they are (probably) referring to is the sports cycle; the natural order of things in most major American cities. When one pro sports season ends, you move on to the next. In this case, the NBA season, and it’s not just about distracting your mind until the NFL Draft or free agency, it’s about rallying around another valiant cause…bringing the Larry O’Brien trophy back to Boston.

South African cleric Desmond Tutu said, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Desmond Tutu was definitely not talking about the seemingly impossible task of making the NBA Finals and defeating the unbeatable Golden State Warriors, but his words still apply. New England fans may feel surrounded by darkness, but there is light. 

The Celtics have the best record in the Eastern Conference and the third-best record in the entire NBA. They have MVP candidate Kyrie Irving, whose ball-handling skills make you question whether the Earth might actually be flat (it’s not). They have Rookie of the Year candidate Jayson Tatum, who started the season so hot, people forget he’s still a teenager. They have human highlight reel Jaylen Brown, whose habit of posterizing opponents is borderline criminal. And they have Brad Stevens, the coaching savant disguised as a middle school math teacher, who has led the Celtics to the best record in the NBA vs the Warriors the past three seasons (3-3). No other team is .500 vs.  Golden State over that span. We haven’t even mentioned the growth of Terry Rozier or another All-Star season from Al Horford. 

MORE: CELTICS TALK PODCAST: Danny Ainge joins to talk about the trade deadline

Add it all up and what you have is hope. But in this case, hope is not a cliche on a poster. Hope is a wide-open Eastern Conference and a crumbling LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers team. Hope is a real chance at making the NBA Finals and an actual shot at taking down Goliath. Hope is seeing the green light despite all of the post-Super Bowl darkness. 

It’s time to commit yourself, whole-heartedly, to the Boston Celtics

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Celtics take lessons from Warriors loss into Denver

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Celtics take lessons from Warriors loss into Denver

The visiting locker room at Oracle Arena is used to players and coaches licking their wounds after a humbling defeat.

But within the rubble of their 109-105 loss on Saturday, the Celtics came away with a sense of discovery as to what the next progression needs to be for them going forward.

“We were a lot more locked in,” said Jaylen Brown. “We haven’t played with this intensity in a while.”

Building off of that will be a chief goal tonight as the Celtics close out their four-game West Coast trip against the Denver Nuggets.

Two of the more impressive performers in the loss to the Warriors, Kyrie Irving and Brown, had one of their best nights as a backcourt tandem earlier this season when Boston edged the Nuggets 124-118 at the TD Garden.

In that game, Irving had 33 points on an efficient 12-for-19 shooting display. Brown was also impressive, scoring 26 points on 9-for-12 shooting.

Like Saturday, both players were assertive and effective against the Nuggets, the kind of traits Boston will benefit greatly from if they’re on display tonight.

Indeed, Boston's success has to be a team thing.

Despite being just 25, Irving is an elite, proven talent in the NBA. No one questions his ability to perform at the highest level when the stakes are great.

Still, he has been in the league long enough to know that whatever success the Celtics have as far as making a deep playoff run, will involve several of his younger teammates.

And part of their growth includes understanding how to elevate their play when the games matter most, without necessarily trying to do too much, which could be detrimental to the ultimate goal of advancing from one round of the postseason to the next.

Win or lose, the Celtics are intent on finding elements to build upon from one game to the next, which is essential to a team with so many new faces still in the process of learning what it takes to step their game up between now and the postseason, and beyond.

“For us, we take it as a learning experience. They’re an incredible team,” said Irving, referring to the Warriors. “We’re a developing young team trying to be great as well. You just have to have that confidence.”

And it’s games like tonight’s game against the Nuggets that can only strengthen the Celtics along those lines.

While Boston (34-16) is fighting to hold on to the top seed in the East, the Nuggets (26-23) are clinging to the eighth and final playoff seed out West. Denver has a one-game lead over the Los Angeles Clippers and trail New Orleans and Portland (27-22) by one game.

So, this too will be another game in which the Celtics are facing a team as hungry for a victory as they are.

And with a 19-6 record at home, the only team with a better home record in the West than Denver are San Antonio (20-4) and Minnesota (20-6).

There are plenty of factors that will come into play tonight, including whether Boston can play aggressively consistently. 

“Having a young group, it’s one of the things we need to learn; be more consistent,” said Al Horford. “We’ve done it a lot of times this season.  For some reason, the past two weeks we haven’t been playing at the level we need to. Hopefully, we can build from this. We have a great opportunity to out there and finish the trip 2-2.”

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