Danny Ainge has defended Kyrie Irving's comments in the past, and he did so again Thursday — to a certain extent.
Irving appeared to call out Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics coaching staff Saturday night after a loss to the Hornets, suggesting his team should have trapped Kemba Walker instead of allowing the Charlotte star to "torch" the C's.
Ainge was asked about Irving's comments Thursday during his weekly interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich."
"I did hear (Irving's comments). It's not that uncommon," the Celtics' president of basketball operations said. "Guys get frustrated, and maybe that was the first thing that came to his mind is, 'We should have done something different with Kemba.' "
But Ainge also stuck up for Stevens' game plan, as Irving and his teammates didn't exactly hold up their end of the bargain as Walker went off for a game-high 36 points.
"Kemba hit three (3-pointers) in transition. We didn't do a good job of stopping them in transition," Ainge said. "We had defended Kemba pretty well this year after the first game of the season and up through that game, so for two and a half games, we had done a good job with the defensive plan that we had."
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Ainge conceded Walker took advantage of favorable matchups off switches in the fourth quarter that could have been prevented. He also reminded everyone that defense wasn't the primary issue in Boston's collapse.
"The bottom line is, we scored five points in the final eight minutes and 20 seconds," Ainge said. "That's not like our team at all. If we score 10 points (in that span), we win that game."
The good news: Boston moved on with a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night and face a big test Friday at home against the Indiana Pacers. So, Ainge is ready to let bygones be bygones.
"I don't think (Irving's comments have) anything to do with anything other than a player's frustration," Ainge said.
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