MIAMI — Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving engaged in a half-hour shooting session on the Miami Heat’s practice court following his team’s 115-99 loss on Thursday night.
Irving, addressing reporters after Boston’s entire locker room had cleared out, called the solo session, “therapeutic” and, on a night the Celtics elected to stay in Miami before flying to Orlando on Friday, Irving suggested it was better than a night out on South Beach.
"That’s my job, right? So it’s always good to get some extra work after a tough loss,” said Irving. “[The Heat] shot extremely well. They did some great things tonight. I’ve got to give credit to the Heat team today. They came prepared, made some big shots. We just couldn’t get that run.
"I just wanted to get some extra shots, feel good going into the next game. We’re staying over in Miami, so I’d rather be in here than be out in Miami right now.”
Irving joked that his strength and conditioning guru Robin Pound would, “probably kill me for doing stuff like that,” particularly after the second night of a back-to-back, but Irving said he wanted to see some shots go in.
"just wanted to feel good about my jump shot, and shots that I missed tonight,” said Irving. "Very makeable ones. And shots that I didn’t take tonight. Just wanted to feel good about it, that’s all.”
What exactly goes on during a solo workout?
"Just imitating things that the defense was doing to me tonight and the pressure they were putting on me, and the opportunities I didn’t take advantage of,” said Irving. "I just want to feel good about it. It’s just good to get some shots up, just release some stress a little bit. After a tough loss off a back-to-back, it’s just good to see a shot go in a little bit. It’s just therapeutic.
"It’s not so much about the frustration from the game. It’s just more or less therapeutic for you just to go out there and mentally just feel good about your game and things you could have taken advantage of and you could prepare better for next game. I’m going to see different defenses all year but when you can go out there and be well-conditioned and go from the game and go up to get another workout in, it’s always good. You just want to be smart about it. But like I said, it’s just a great, great stress reliever when I see some shots go in.”
Irving, still dressed in game shorts and a tank top as he addressed reporters an hour after the game’s completion, was answering a question when the lights in Boston’s locker room went out. Told he must have shot the lights out in his session, a laughing Irving said he was “above 90 percent up there, for sure.”
Irving said it was all part of responding to adversity and learning how to react when things don’t go well.
"It’s going to get harder, especially when you have that goal of getting that gold trophy,” said Irving. “It’s going to get tough and we gotta be able to withstand plays and things that happen within a game.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has repeatedly noted in recent days how he didn’t think his team handled adversity particularly well early in the year but they’ve started to show more resiliency lately, a hallmark of last year’s team that overcame injuries to Irving and Gordon Hayward to surge to the fringe of the NBA Finals.
Irving said he needed to be tougher as well, calling himself out for a particularly noticeable lapse early in Thursday’s game.
“When things get tough, we just got to be able to weather the storm and tonight I don’t think we did a great job of that, just being able to withstand certain runs and be able to execute our offense, and defensively being in the right spots, including myself,” said Irving. “S---, I got dunked on tonight. I wasn’t in the right spot early on. A lot of just toughness things we can do to improve and just continue to work on that.”
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