Celtics

Kyrie Irving details "very helpful" plane ride chat with Brad Stevens

Kyrie Irving details "very helpful" plane ride chat with Brad Stevens

Leave it to a cross-country plane ride for the Boston Celtics to quell some of their turbulence.

The Celtics stunned the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on Tuesday night, handing the Dubs their worst home loss in the Steve Kerr era. Kyrie Irving played lose and free, racking up 19 points and a game-high 11 assists in Boston's 128-95 win.

So, how did the C's manage to flip the switch after losing five of their previous six games? Irving's lengthy conversation with head coach Brad Stevens on the plane ride to San Francisco certainly helped.

"We sat and talked some (Monday) and then on the plane for a long time," Stevens said before Tuesday's game, via the Boston Herald.

That discussion -- and others over the last few days -- apparently was therapeutic for Irving, who was able to air out his feelings in private rather than in front of cameras.

"Talking with Brad was very helpful, talking with (Celtics president of basketball operations) Danny (Ainge) was very helpful, and just expressing myself rather than keeping it all in,” Irving said after Tuesday's game, as aired on NBC Sports Boston. “That made it very easy to just go out and just have fun playing basketball.”

Irving wasn't alone. By his account, the C's used their several hours in the sky to get back on the same page.

"That long plane ride helped us out. I’ll just say that,” Irving added. “That long plane ride helped us out. We needed it, we needed it. It was just we were going to get to a point where we were just going to get tired of fighting each other, fighting the outside world.

"And it doesn’t even really matter. So we just wanted to come out here and just play basketball. This is our sanctuary. And we have to do everything to protect it. We can’t let anybody infiltrate it.”

For a player who recently has felt exasperated with the media, an eight-day, four-game West Coast swing could be just what the doctor ordered. Tuesday's rout of the defending champions certainly wasn't a cure-all, but Boston's season-high 38 assists Tuesday night suggests healthier days may be ahead.

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Celtics-Timberwolves simulation: Jaylen Brown's heroics help C's extend win streak

Celtics-Timberwolves simulation: Jaylen Brown's heroics help C's extend win streak

The NBA season has been put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis, meaning we may have to wait until mid-April at the earliest to watch the Boston Celtics again.

As a way to make up for the loss of Celtics action, we'll be using the NBA 2K20 video game to simulate each game on the schedule until they finally return.

PREVIOUS FIVE SIMULATIONS

The Celtics were supposed to be taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday at TD Garden. Here's how our simulation of the matchup went:

CELTICS STATS

It's no surprise to see Kemba Walker as the Celtics' leading scorer yet again. He's by far been Boston's best offensive player since we've started these simulations. This time, he led the way with 39 points.

But the hero in this game was Jaylen Brown. Late in the fourth quarter, Brown nailed a clutch shot to tie the game at 106. With two seconds remaining, Brown put Minnesota away with the game-winner. He finished with 26 points on 10-for-16 shooting.

Jayson Tatum had a nice performance of his own with 20 points and nine rebounds.

TIMBERWOLVES STATS

Karl-Anthony Towns gave the C's plenty of trouble in this one. The Timberwolves big man led his team in scoring with 30 points and was a force on the glass with 16 rebounds. He also tied the game at 110 with only five seconds left on the clock.

James Johnson, D'Angelo Russell, Jarrett Culver and ex-Celtic Evan Turner each did their part by scoring in double figures, but it wasn't enough to finish the job.

TEAM STATS

Minnesota actually had the edge in most categories, but their 3-point woes proved costly. They shot a putrid 19 percent from beyond the arc while the Celtics shot 41 percent. That's why Boston was able to storm back from an 11-point deficit and earn the W.

FINAL SCORE: Celtics 112, Timberwolves 110

The NBA 2K Celtics are on fire as that's now eight straight wins. Tune in Tuesday for their next matchup vs. the Miami Heat.

Danny Ainge details relationship with Michael Jordan before Celtics-Bulls in 1986

Danny Ainge details relationship with Michael Jordan before Celtics-Bulls in 1986

Danny Ainge wasn't a player that would often hang out with opponents during his playing days.

But he did make an exception when it came to Michael Jordan.

In a recent interview with NBC Sports Boston's Brian Scalabrine, Ainge detailed his relationship with Jordan and spoke of a time that the two golfed together ahead of the Celtics-Bulls playoff series in 1986. Here's a look at that interview, per the Celtics on NBC Sports Boston's Twitter account.

"This is the only time ever in my entire career that I had dinner, lunch did anything with an opponent," Ainge said of the meeting with Jordan. "But with Michael, Michael loved golf and I loved golf and Michael reached out and wanted to know where he could find a golf course and maybe get on a golf course to play in Boston on their two off days. So, I think we arranged to play 36 at Framingham Country Club."

Ainge also called Jordan "one competitive son of a gun", a fact well-known to anyone who saw Jordan compete during his playing days.

Nobody will blame Ainge for spending time with Jordan on a day off. After all, the Celtics were still able to sweep the Bulls in the series even despite Jordan averaging a whopping 43.7 points per game. So, it doesn't seem like either side picked up many tips and tricks about how to slow the other down.

NBC Sports Boston will be re-airing Game 2 of that Celtics-Bulls series on Sunday night at 7 p.m. Tune in to watch Jordan drop an NBA playoff-record 63 points while the C's rode a balanced effort to an overtime victory.