Celtics

Celtics winning games - and winning over Irving with late-season success

Celtics winning games - and winning over Irving with late-season success

INDIANAPOLIS -- Kyrie Irving is a six-time All-Star, one of the best late-game scorers in the NBA.

And yet there he was in the fourth quarter on Friday night, in the most important game of the Celtics season, doing the same thing you and I were doing - watching the Celtics pour on the points and in doing so, making a point in a crushing 117-97 blowout win at Indiana about a week before these two are expected to meet in a first-round playoff series. 

Not only did it all but secure home-court advantage for the Celtics when they meet the Pacers again, but it showcased both the promise and elite-level potential surrounding Irving on a night when the spotlight, for a regular0season game at least, had not been any brighter. 

And when you are the Celtics, who are trying to do their all in convincing Irving to stay long-term, these are the games that make it more difficult for him to take his talents elsewhere.

There’s no question Irving has had his share of rocky moments with the Celtics this season, whether it’s referring to “the young guys” one or two (or three or…) times too many when they screw up, or committing to re-sign with the team in October and essentially doing an about-face a few months later.

He is indeed a difficult player to figure out, for sure. 

Still, the one thing that has been constant with him during his time in Boston, is his desire to win. 

And as much as the Celtics lean on him to carry the squad on many nights, the fact that they could dominate a team as desperate as the Pacers and not need Irving to have a monster game to do so, speaks volumes about where this team is now and how far they can go. 

Boston won’t have many games in the playoffs, if any, where Irving can play just 27 minutes and that be more than enough for them to win. 

But the fact that this team has that potential and they put it together in what was easily the biggest game of the season, says a lot about this team’s growth. 

And if you sift through Irving’s comments most of the season, he has talked often about growth and its importance to this team as the season progressed. 

The way Jayson Tatum took over for stretches and maintained an elite level of aggressiveness… how Gordon Hayward is looking more like All-Star Gordon Hayward from a couple of years ago…Al Horford delivering a little bit of everything…Aron Baynes becoming Mr. Double-Double with three in his last five games...

How much all that resonates with Irving, remains to be seen. 

But if you’re the Celtics, you know for a fact it was the kind of victory that can only help their chances of keeping Irving around beyond this season, which remains Boston’s top priority. 

He is a dynamic talent who has already won an NBA title, but knows he can not win another one by himself. 

Irving knows he’ll need others to step up, step out and deliver on the biggest of stages. 

While he has caught heat at times this season for what many believe is him picking on the younger players, multiple Celtics have talked both publicly and privately about how Irving’s confidence and faith in his younger teammates have never wavered. 

“It doesn’t always come out right, what he says, but he’s got our back,” one of his teammates told NBC Sports Boston. 

It is that ultra-competitive streak in Irving that at times has made him a polarizing figure on this team, and in the eyes of opposing teams and players. 

But he desperately wants to be with a group that’s just as hungry for success and are capable of playing with that much-needed edge when it matters - a team such as the one we saw on Friday night that had him doing what we tend to do when it comes to him and the Celtics, and that’s watch it all unfold. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.


 

Celtics join FaceApp craze with hilarious photos of 'old' players

Celtics join FaceApp craze with hilarious photos of 'old' players

Who needs Uncle Drew, anyway?

If you're on social media, then your feed most likely has been filled with hilarious (and kind of disturbing) FaceApp photos of aged celebrities and athletes. The Celtics decided to get in on the action by using the "old age" filter on a few C's players, and well, here were the results. . .

Jaylen Brown's photo was so good that Jayson Tatum couldn't help but send it along to his 22-year-old teammate.

Of course, we had to properly celebrate #TackoTuesday with a FaceApp photo of our own:

And lastly, just in case you were wondering how Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will look in roughly 30 years from now, it appears he'll resemble... Brett Favre?

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Anthony Davis gives interesting answer to question on his Lakers future

usatsi_13040580.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis gives interesting answer to question on his Lakers future

Newly acquired Los Angeles Lakers superstar Anthony Davis might end up playing for the Purple and Gold a long time, but so far he hasn't been willing to publicly proclaim he will re-sign with the historic franchise when NBA free agency 2020 rolls around.

Davis was asked during his introductory press conference last Saturday about being ready to commit to the Lakers long term, and his answer was interesting.

"I'm focused on this season," Davis told reporters, via the Washington Post's Ben Golliver. "When I got traded here, my goal was to bring a championship here with the team that we have. When that time comes around next year, you can ask me that question and we can revisit it. Right now, my focus is on this year and figuring out how I can help this team and help this organization become a championhip team."

Davis basically took the opposite approach Kyrie Irving did last fall. Irving famously told Boston Celtics season ticket holders before the 2018-19 season that he planned to re-sign with the team. Maybe Irving really meant it at the time, but after a disappointing season for the Celtics highlighted by the superstar point guard's leadership struggles, he bolted for the Brooklyn Nets in free agency earlier this month.

Davis has a $28,751,775 million player option for the 2020-21 season, and it's hard to envision him, or any player, exercising that option when a long-term max contract almost certainly would be available.

The list of the top free agents in the summer of 2020 goes downhill really quick. Davis clearly is the best player who could be available. The gap between him and the second-best player, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, is enormous. If Davis ever made it known he was open to considering other teams in free agency, the list of interested suitors likely would be a lengthy one. After all, he's arguably a top-five player in the league and will be just 27 years old next summer.

It wouldn't be surprising if Davis eventually re-signs with the Lakers, but there's absolutely no reason for him to commit, especially publicly, to L.A. before playing any games alongside LeBron James.

Click here for a list of the best NBA free agents in 2020>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.