BOSTON – On Sunday night, Kyrie Irving played just under 30 minutes while leading the Boston Celtics with 20 points to go with four assists and three rebounds in addition to one blocked shot in Boston’s 115-112 preseason win over Charlotte.
It was the kind of performance that served as a reminder of just how impactful Irving can be.
And his reward?
A night off, apparently.
Following Sunday’s win, Irving announced that he would not be playing in Boston’s next preseason game which is at home against Cleveland on Tuesday. Boston will play its final preseason game at Cleveland on Saturday.
“You won’t be seeing me on Tuesday,” Irving said. “I got myself going (on Sunday against Charlotte) and you’ll see me again in Cleveland.”
Irving, who is back after missing all of Boston’s postseason run last season due to an infection in his left knee, has shown no signs of being limited or impacted by the knee or any other physical ailment.
Like most veteran players, they normally do not play an entire preseason slate of games so it’s not all that surprising that Irving will sit miss a game.
Knowing the Celtics are poised to make a deep playoff run, both Irving and the Celtics are wisely looking at ways to get him some strategic rest going forward.
Despite being just 26 years old, Irving’s injury-riddled history coupled with several years of extended basketball play because of long playoff runs in Cleveland and his time with Team USA, finding ways to get him some downtime takes on even greater significance.
If he does sit out Tuesday’s game as expected, look for Terry Rozier or Marcus Smart to get the starting nod.