BOSTON – Maybe it was the familiarity of the Detroit defense, one that Kyrie Irving has seen twice in the last 72 hours.
Or it could be being at the TD Garden, a rare stop for the Green Team in these first couple of weeks of the season.
And then there’s the real reason (the one we’re going to roll with and so will most fans) as to why Irving was a (hair) cut above the rest on Monday night.
The mini-fro Irving has been donning this season was nowhere to be found, with Irving’s thicker mane a thing of the past as he reverted back to a lower-cut look.
Brad Stevens thought it looked good.
And anyone who saw him play with it on Tuesday?
Yeah, they thought it looked good too.
But shooting the way Irving did on Tuesday is always in fashion, especially when it ends in victory for the Celtics who held off Detroit to claim a 108-105 win.
“Law of averages,” said Boston head coach Brad Stevens. “Law of averages, which means he’s got a few more coming, right? So, I mean, he’s way too good of a scorer for the ball not to go in very long, and that stuff all evens out all the time.”
Irving came into Tuesday’s game shooting just 39.1 percent from the field and 24.1 percent from 3-point range, both career lows for the five-time All-Star.
But those shooting woes were replaced by a wickedly good shot-making night for Irving who led all scorers with 31 points on 10-for-16 shooting from the field to go with five rebounds and five assists.
Prior to the game, Jayson Tatum was joking with Irving about not blaming his Afro if he had a good game.
“He said he’s not going to blame the fro, but y’all haven’t talked to him yet,” Tatum said. “We’ll see.”
Minutes later, Irving addressed his strong game Tuesday night in addition to explaining his decision to cut down his Afro.
“I think it was just time. I had a great run with it. It was a great Afro,” Irving said with a chuckle. “I’m happy I did it. Now it’s time to get back to what I was used to, a low hair cut without so much maintenance.”
And his play Tuesday night was indeed vintage Irving who controlled the game in all phases of play.
“Anytime he shoots that ball we all think it’s good, it’s a good shot,” said Boston’s Aron Baynes. “I think it’s just one of those things, its’ good to see him knock down a few the last couple of games; it just creates so much space for everyone else. He becomes such a target for the defense, five (sets of) eyes on him every time he has the ball and he’s been great at making the right play and getting other guys open shots as well.”
Boston’s Jaylen Brown added, “it’s fun to see your brother succeed and do it and it puts a smile on your face.
Detroit’s Blake Griffin, who led the Pistons with 24 points, was also among those showering Irving with praise after the game.
“He was great,” Griffin said. “That’s what Kyrie does; he affects the game in so many different ways. He did a really good job.”
And that kind of performance serves as a reminder to us all how Irving on most nights, is indeed a (hair)cut above the rest.
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