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Building off his comments from Monday, New York Knicks forward and former Celtic Marcus Morris continued to discuss Kyrie Irving's downfall in Boston.
The 2018-19 Celtics were set up for success, but ultimately were derailed by a lack of consistency and leadership in addition to several injuries. While many blamed Irving for not stepping up as a leader, Morris doesn't necessarily think Irving failed in that area.
“The word ‘fail,’ I wouldn’t say,’’ Morris said Thursday, via the New York Post's Marc Berman. “I don’t want to say ‘fail.’ I just think mentally he had some other stuff going on and it was hard for him to separate that from the work place. And that’s difficult sometimes. But I do think he tried his hardest.’’
Obviously any outside noise can affect a player's performance on the court, and Morris thought Irving wasn't there mentally after the death of his grandfather in October of 2018.
“He just forgot how big of a leader he was,’’ Morris said. “I think he sometimes forgot that. As a leader, outside stuff can affect our team. And I think that did. Not like outside distractions but like family stuff he had going on.’’
And although Irving didn't lead Boston in the right direction, Morris emphasized that everyone was to blame for Boston's struggles, not just one person.
“That’s just how it goes,’’ Morris said. “There’s five people on the court. At the end of the day, it’s not just one guy.”
Despite everything that went on last season, Morris insisted there's no bad blood between him and Irving.
“I love Ky. I had a great relationship with Ky," he added.
While Morris and the Knicks are set to face Irving's squad Friday night, the Celtics won't get a taste of the "new" Irving until November 27 -- the first game of a home-and-home series with the Brooklyn Nets.
Boston does have a tough task at hand Friday, however, when it welcomes the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors to TD Garden for its home opener.
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