BOSTON — Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving wasn’t in a particularly talkative mood following Sunday’s 115-104 loss to the Houston Rockets, answering nine questions with a total of just 39 words.
Irving scored 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting over 36 minutes on Sunday but only attempted one shot — a miss — while playing a mere 5:35 of the fourth quarter when the Rockets fended off Boston’s furious second-half charge. Boston trimmed as much as a 28-point deficit to single digits but couldn’t get over the hump down the stretch.
A full transcript of Irving’s postgame media session, that lasted just 80 seconds (some questions shortened for length but Irving’s responses in full):
HOW TOUGH WAS THAT ONE FOR YOU TONIGHT?
“It was tough.”
WHAT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST HALF?
“We just didn’t play well.”
IN YOUR CAREER, HAVE YOU EVER GONE THROUGH ANYTHING LIKE THIS?
[Nods, inaudible response]
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO TURN IT AROUND?
“Just play better."
BIGGER CHALLENGE TONIGHT: SHOOTING STRUGGLES OR DEFENDING ROCKETS?
“Probably a bit of both.”
WHAT TWEAKS NEED TO DEFEND 3-POINT LINE BETTER?
“Just our rotation stuff. Getting better on rotations”
YOU SAID YOU WANT TO BE A LEADER OF THIS TEAM, WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO KINDA TURN THIS THING AROUND AS A LEADER?
“Just gotta play better.”
TAKE ANYTHING FROM FOURTH-QUARTER RALLY?
“Not result in a win. Just got to play better.”
DO YOU THINK YOU GUYS CAN COME TOGETHER ON THIS ROAD TRIP?
And, with that, the session ended. Irving was one of only two Celtics players to talk before the team raced out for a six-hour cross-country flight to the west coast and a four-game road trip that starts with a visit to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.
☘️ ROCKETS 115, CELTICS 104
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Irving has often offered pithy responses amid Boston’s struggles but this was by far his most succinct session as the Celtics have dropped seven of their last 10 games overall and sit 2.5 games back of the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
While Irving’s words — or lack thereof — will continue to be highly scrutinized, and his “we’ll see,” response to the final question wasn’t exactly confidence-inspiring, he wasn’t the only one at a loss for what ails these Celtics.
Boston big man Al Horford, the only other player to talk to the media horde inside the locker room, couldn’t put his finger on it, either.
“I'm really not sure [what’s going wrong],” said Horford. "I just think that we’ve had some good moments, and right now unfortunately, we’re going through a really bad stretch. This is when our group, we need to make sure that we stay together and even closer, because I know it’s hard. We’re the first ones that don’t want to lose. We just need to continue to work, because we feel like we can be better than this.”
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