LOS ANGELES — Not even head coach Brad Stevens’ attempts to herd his team onto the bus could break up an extended 1-on-1 post-practice session that featured All-Star Kyrie Irving battling Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
At the conclusion of Boston’s hourlong offday workout, Irving and Brown began to engage in 1-on-1 work while teammates got up shots inside the cavernous Student Activities Center on the campus of UCLA. Eventually, Tatum joined the round-robin action and a loud and boisterous session unfolded as reporters chronicled on their phones while waiting to chat with Irving.
Practice ended like 25 minutes ago but this Kyrie v Jayson v Jaylen might go all night. Brad trying to get everyone to the bus. pic.twitter.com/lzL1f5XUZI— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) March 8, 2019
Needless to say, Irving’s left thigh was feeling better after missing Wednesday’s win in Sacramento due to a contusion. He reveled in the challenge of competing against two of Boston’s top wings after practice.
"I got to school these younguns,” said Irving. "They are 21- and 22-year-olds. It's always fun just to compete, going against those wings, they are two of the best in our league. It's a luxury to be able to play 1-on-1 after practice.”
Irving’s shot-making helped him dominate for stretches but Tatum used his length and Brown utilized his strength to help win their shares of possessions.
The players lingered on a court for nearly 25 minutes after Boston’s practice ended before they called it a day.
What does Irving gain by playing against longer defenders?
"I’ve just played against all types of defenders, from like Avery Bradley to going against Klay Thompson for three Finals in a row,” said Irving. “Just going against bigger defenders, I very rarely get my matchup as of late the way teams have been playing me. I’m pretty sure [Saturday] I’ll get Brandon Ingram, so you just gotta maximize the amount of space you can on those guys that have a lot of length and be as efficient as possible.
"It’s going to be a tough shot. I gotta work twice as hard as a 6-7 guy. If I was 6-4, 6-5, the game would be a little easier for me, but, just try to create space and be efficient at it.”
The extended practice session seemed to be another indication that the Celtics are thoroughly enjoying their time out west, with players admitting to an uptick in good vibes since the long plane ride to San Francisco on Sunday night.
Asked what he’s found on this road trip, Irving said, "Just some joy. Just having fun playing basketball and competing for one another.”
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