Celtics

Kyrie Irving: Celtics need 'more focus and discipline' to flip switch

Kyrie Irving: Celtics need 'more focus and discipline' to flip switch

PHILADELPHIA — Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving said the team needs "more focus and discipline” if it desires to flip the proverbial playoff switch but expressed hope that the team could improve those areas over the final 11 games.

Irving then suggested that he plans to sit out some games late in the regular season with the rigors of the postseason looming.

"I’m definitely taking some games off before the playoffs,” Irving said at Boston’s morning shootaround at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday. "Makes no sense, the emphasis on these regular games, when you’re gearing up for some battles coming in the playoffs.”

While downplaying the significance of Wednesday’s tilt with the Philadelphia 76ers (“It’s just another game”) and suggesting that seeding doesn’t matter for Boston (“As long as we get [to the playoffs], I’m happy”), Irving was asked if a playoff mindset had already set in for the Celtics.

“No. We need more focus and discipline in order for that switch to be turned on,” said Irving. "So, we have yet to figure out what that switch is for us going into the postseason, but that’s why we have 11 games left.”

The Celtics have endured some notable focus lapses lately, including at the end of the third quarter against Denver on Monday. Just how far away are the Celtics from figuring it out?

“We’ll see,” answered Irving, offering the same response he did when asked if the team might rally together out west before Boston’s famed flight out west.

The Celtics entered Wednesday trending heavily towards earning the No. 4 or 5 spot in the East, which would almost certainly set up a matchup with the Indiana Pacers. According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Celtics had only a 13.3 percent chance at the No. 3 seed, compared to a 51.7 percent shot at No. 4.

A win Wednesday over Philadelphia could open the door for a surge to No. 3, but some fans have wondered if the fourth seed — and the possibility of matching up with Milwaukee instead of Toronto in Round 2 — might actually be better for the Celtics.

Regardless, Boston needs to be playing inspired basketball when the playoffs arrive. Irving was asked how his Cleveland Cavaliers teams of years past were able to routinely flip the switch.

"I think that the best thing we had going in that aspect is experience,” said Irving. "So, like, the switch — we know what that switch is. This team doesn’t yet.

"The best thing for us is experience. So, guys have a year of experience and I think we’ve given ourselves too much credit. What that switch is, championship-level basketball, only a few people know what that switch is. It takes time to develop it, it takes experience with each other. And we’ve tried to make up as much ground in the last year and a half as we could.”

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Watch the Celtics' touching tribute video for the late John Havlicek

Watch the Celtics' touching tribute video for the late John Havlicek

Boston Celtics legend John Havlicek passed away Thursday at the age of 79.

Havlicek is the C's all-time leading scorer and one of the most decorated players ever to don a Celtics uniform, but he was especially known for his hustle on the court and his generosity off of it.

Along with a statement on Havlicek's passing, the Celtics released a wonderful video tribute for No. 17.

Watch below:

Rest in peace, Hondo.

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Celtics legend John Havlicek, a mainstay of '60s and '70s champions, dies at 79

Celtics legend John Havlicek, a mainstay of '60s and '70s champions, dies at 79

BOSTON -- “Havlicek stole the ball! Havlicek stole the ball! It’s all over!”

One of the most iconic moments in Boston Celtics lore, no one will ever forget the call in the 1965 NBA Eastern Conference Finals made by announcer Johnny Most or the player who made a play for the ages, John Havlicek. 

Havlicek, the Celtics’ all-time leading scorer (26,395 points) and one of the most decorated players to ever don a Celtics uniform, passed away on Thursday. 

He was 79. 

The Celtics released the following statement upon announcing Havlicek's passing:

John Havlicek is one of the most accomplished players in Boston Celtics history, and the face of many of the franchise’s signature moments. He was a great champion both on the court and in the community, winning 8 NBA championships and an NBA Finals MVP, while holding Celtics career records for points scored and games played. Named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, he is enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame and his retired #17 hangs in the Garden rafters. His defining traits as a player were his relentless hustle and wholehearted commitment to team over self. He was extraordinarily thoughtful and generous, both on a personal level and for those in need, as illustrated by his commitment to raising money for The Genesis Foundation for Children for over three decades through his fishing tournament. John was kind and considerate, humble and gracious. He was a champion in every sense, and as we join his family, friends, and fans in mourning his loss, we are thankful for all the joy and inspiration he brought to us.

A 16-year NBA veteran, all with the Celtics, Havlicek was one of the central figures in the Celtics’ rise to prominence in the NBA, having been a mainstay on eight championship teams (1963-1966; 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976) in addition to being named NBA Finals MVP in 1974 and a 13-time All-Star.

In addition, he was one of the NBA’s first “Sixth Men” standouts, which would later prove to be one of the many ways this future Hall of Famer revolutionized the game. 

His No. 17 Celtics jersey was immediately retired and hung in the Boston Garden rafters upon his enshrinement in the Hall in 1984. 

The first NBA player to score 1,000 points in 16 consecutive seasons, “Hondo” was best known as a tireless worker who was in constant motion on the floor, making it challenging for foes to keep up with him. 

Said fellow Celtics legend, and his former teammate and coach, Tommy Heinsohn: “He's still the all-time leading scorer, isn’t he, with the Celtics? And justifiably so. He gets lost in the brouhaha over the [eras around him]… He became a total star."

Heinsohn's broadcast partner, Mike Gorman, the voice of the Celtics for 37 years,  remembered Havlicek the man, as well as the player.

"I cannot come up with words to describe what we lost with the passing of John Havlicek," Gorman said. "I can only assure you that everything you hear or read about what a genuinely good man he was is true. He was what we hope our heroes can be."
 

In many ways, his play would be the template for generations of Celtics who came after him to try and emulate. 

Selected with the seventh overall pick in the first round out of Ohio State in 1962, Havlicek was also a such a good athlete that he was also talented enough to get drafted by the NFL's Cleveland Browns. 

Here’s a list of Havlicek’s numerous honors and accomplishments: 

  • 8-time NBA champion (1963–1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976)
  • NBA Finals MVP (1974)
  • 13-time NBA All-Star (1966–1978)
  • 26,395 points (franchise record)
  • 4-time All-NBA First Team (1971–1974)
  • 7-time All-NBA Second Team (1964, 1966, 1968–1970, 1975, 1976)
  • 5-time NBA All-Defensive First Team (1972–1976)
  • 3-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1969–1971)
  • NBA All-Rookie First Team (1963)
  • No. 17 retired by Celtics (1984)
  • NCAA champion, Ohio State (1960)

 

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