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.
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"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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