Kyrie Irving

Larkin provides fourth-quarter spark, Celtics beat Sixers, 102-92

Larkin provides fourth-quarter spark, Celtics beat Sixers, 102-92

PHILADELPHIA – Despite playing its second straight game without a key rotation player, the Boston Celtics did just enough to get their first win of the season, 102-92, over Philadelphia.

Boston (1-2) was led by Kyrie Irving’s game-high 21 points, but it was Shane Larkin's floor game down the stretch that truly catapulted Boston to its first win of the season.

Larkin, who was seeing action in large part because Marcus Smart was out with a left ankle injury, provided a huge spark in the fourth before finishing with 10 points and four assists.

He drained a 3-pointer that tied the game at 75-all, which was part of an 18-9 Celtics run.

The Sixers (0-2) were led by J.J. Redick and Jerryd Bayless who had 19 and 18 points, respectively. Joel Embiid got off to a slow start, but finished with a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds.

Boston played with a lead for most of the first half, but Philadelphia took over with a 7-0 run to end the second quarter and had the Celtics playing catch-up for all of the third and some of the fourth quarter.

Boston was once again short-handed, with Marcus Smart out with a left ankle injury. He replaced Gordon Hayward, whose left ankle injury in the first quarter of Boston’s loss to Cleveland on Tuesday, is expected to keep him sidelined for the rest of the season.

But with players out, that opens up opportunities for others to step up.

Larkin, who walked away from a contract overseas that would have paid about $5 million more than he’s making with the Celtics, was one of those players.

Aron Baynes, who got the start with Smart out, had 10 points and eight rebounds. Boston also got another strong game off the bench from Terry Rozier who had 14 points and seven rebounds

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Does Kyrie-LeBron feud have it roots in a high-five left hanging?

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Does Kyrie-LeBron feud have it roots in a high-five left hanging?

Kyrie Irving said earlier this week before his return to Cleveland that he wasn’t about to detail the reasons behind his request for a trade that sent him to the Celtics. 

A story from Cavaliers beat writer Jason Lloyd on TheAthletic.com suggests that the roots of the feud may stem from an incident between Irving’s father, Drederick, and one of LeBron James’ lifelong friends, who works for the Cavs. 

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Drederick Irving played basketball at Boston University, was at one time the school’s all-time leading scorer and is in BU’s athletic hall of fame. Irving cited his father’s influence at his introductory Celtics press conference and now wears the same No. 11 his father did with the Terriers.

 

From Lloyd’s story: 

One day during the three years LeBron James and Kyrie Irving spent as teammates, Drederick Irving was exiting the Cavs’ locker room when Randy Mims was entering. Mims, one of James’ lifelong friends and an official Cavs employee, reached out his hand to slap Drederick five. But Dred, Irving’s father, pulled his own arm back and refused the gesture.

When James later asked Irving about the incident and if there was something wrong, Irving said his father believed they shouldn’t be “fraternizing with the enemy.” Three sources with knowledge of the exchange independently confirmed it to The Athletic, revealing just a glimmer of light into a fractured relationship that both men hid well in their time together.

An ESPN.com story after the trade chronicled some of the same friction, noting it was one of several factors leading to Irving's split from the Cavs: 

But there were ancillary issues that bothered Irving, too, such as how James’ good friend Randy Mims had a position on the Cavs’ staff and traveled on the team plane while none of Irving’s close friends were afforded the same opportunity.

Irving didn’t deny Lloyd’s account, telling the Athletic:  “I could care less. You can write it. It’s on you, kid. It’s your validity, baby. It’s just my dad. It’s not me.”