WALTHAM, Mass. – Kyrie Irving was able to participate in all of Celtics practice on Saturday and is expected to be back on the floor when the C's host the Orlando Magic on Sunday.
Irving did not play in an 89-80 loss to Philadelphia on Thursday because of soreness in his left shoulder.
He will continue to receive treatments for the shoulder, “but I’m just ready to go back out there and play,” Irving said. “I’ve had a few days to reset and do the things needed to put myself in a great position to go out there and play.”
Irving said earlier that the shoulder had been bothering him for a couple weeks and an overtime loss to New Orleans on Tuesday didn’t help matters.
Still just 25 but recently named to his fifth All-Star team, Irving’s return could not come at a better time for the Celtics.
Boston (34-12) has the best record in the Eastern Conference, but the C's are riding a two-game losing streak, which is only the third time this season they've lost back-to-back games.
Arguably Boston’s biggest issue in the loss to the Sixers was an offense that struggled in several phases.
Not having Irving available certainly made matters worse, but there were a number of elements of play that with Irving or not, coach Brad Stevens recognizes his team must make a significant improvement in if they are to remain among the top teams in the NBA.
Stevens talked extensively after the loss and again on Saturday about the team not playing hard enough on offense.
“I don’t want to take away from the teams we’re playing against. They’re really guarding us hard,” Stevens said. “But we’ve got to execute harder. The one thing that’s pretty obvious in person and when you watch on film, is we just didn’t play hard enough on offense which is kind of unique. That’s the way I felt.”
Irving said there needs to be an increase in emphasis on their offense, which would make the game easier for everyone.
“Our spacing, our cutting … just playing the game kind of within the game, understanding our talents and where we can make the game easier,” Irving said. “We have very unique talents on this team. When you’re trying to put that together and guys are coming back into the lineup and getting their rhythm still and guys are in and out sometimes … big picture, down the stretch, we’re going to need everyone to be on the same page.”