Kyrie Irving

Kyrie coaching tonight in Rising Stars game brings back memories of these legendary crossovers

Kyrie coaching tonight in Rising Stars game brings back memories of these legendary crossovers

It's still unknown whether Kyrie Irving will play in Sunday's All-Star Game to close out the festitivies this weekend in Charlotte.

But he's coaching in tonight's Rising Stars game, which brings back fond memories of his legendary performance in the 2013 installment of the game, picking on the Detroit Pistons' Brandon Knight for an array of crossovers that still capture the imagination, as Bleacher Report reminded us:

2013 was also the first of six All-Star appearances to date for Irving, who won the Rookie of the Year award the season prior.

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Why have Celtics owned Sixers lately? Jayson Tatum breaks down rivalry

Why have Celtics owned Sixers lately? Jayson Tatum breaks down rivalry

There's a new premier rivalry in the Eastern Conference.

At least, there should be.

After toiling in mediocrity during the mid-2010s, the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers have emerged as legitimate title contenders with bright futures, showcased last postseason when they met in the East semifinals.

But so far, the revamped Boston-Philly "rivalry" has been very one-sided: The Celtics have won 17 of the teams' last 19 regular season meetings and 21 of the last 24 matchups overall.

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, who averaged a team-high 23.6 points per game in Boston's 4-1 playoff series win over Philly, was asked Friday at NBA All-Star Weekend why the C's have had so much success against the Sixers.

"I mean, they're a super, super talented team. Well coached," Tatum said during media availability at Bojangles Coliseum. "It's not like we blow them out or anything. All the games we have with them usually come down to the wire. A few critical plays that we've been fortunate enough to make a lot recently since we've been playing them. But it's super, super tough, no matter if it's a home or away game."

Tatum is right: Six of the Atlantic Division rivals' last seven regular season meetings have been decided by 11 points or fewer. The C's squeezed out a three-point win in Philly on Tuesday after the Sixers took them to overtime at TD Garden on Christmas Day.

So, while Boston leads in the win column, there's plenty of healthy competition on the court.

"Yeah, we have a good rivalry going," Tatum added. "It's super competitive. We're very familiar with them, they're very familiar with us. A lot of trash-talking out there.

"But that's what makes basketball super fun: when it's super competitive like that and everybody's watching. I enjoy playing the Sixers."

Tatum may have more opportunities in the future. If the season ended today, the No. 4 seed Celtics and No. 5 seed Sixers -- who both have 37-21 records -- would meet in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

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A statistical reminder that Kyrie Irving is enjoying career season for Celtics

A statistical reminder that Kyrie Irving is enjoying career season for Celtics

This may shock you, but two things can be true about Kyrie Irving's impact on the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics' offense can play well without him. The ball can move more freely, while his teammates can benefit from their increased scoring opportunities to present a more balanced offensive attack like what we saw against Philadelphia and Detroit.

But Irving also can be the undisputed engine that drives the C's: an incredible talent who's currently enjoying the best season of his career.

Consider Irving's stat line entering the NBA All-Star break, which separates him from every other NBA player:

There are a lot qualifiers to that stat, but the point is that Irving has morphed from an occasionally one-dimensional scorer into an efficient, playmaking machine.

The 26-year-old is on pace for a career high in assists, as he's averaged over six helpers per game just once in his career (6.1 in 2013-14). He's also never shot better: His .498 field goal percentage would top last season's .491 clip as his new career high.

And while the All-Star guard still dominates possession late in games, he's far from a ball-hog: His 17.9 field goal attempts per game barely crack the NBA's top 20, and he's tallied 10 or more assists in more than a quarter of the games he's played this season.

Oh, and he's also racking up 23.6 points per game, just 1.06 off from his career high of 25.2 during his final season in Cleveland, when he attempted nearly 20 shots per game.

Based on those numbers, it shouldn't surprise you that Boston owns an overall net rating of plus-8.9 when Irving is on the court this season.

That the Celtics have found a way to win nine of the 11 games Irving has missed this season is a great development that speaks to this team's depth and its ability to step up when called upon.

But when push comes to shove, it's ludicrous to suggest the C's wouldn't want Irving on the court in meaningful games. As he heads to his sixth All-Star weekend in eight seasons, we felt now would be a good time to remind you why.

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