Enes Kanter says Celtics' poor chemistry with Kyrie Irving was visible

Enes Kanter says Celtics' poor chemistry with Kyrie Irving was visible

Even their own players will tell you the Boston Celtics just didn't click during the 2018-19 season.

And it seems their opponents noticed.

During an appearance Wednesday on FS1's "First Things First," new Celtics big man Enes Kanter recalled a February 2019 game between Boston and his former team, the Portland Trail Blazers.

According to Kanter, the Celtics' lack of chemistry with star point guard Kyrie Irving in the mix was palpable.

Kanter's Blazers took advantage of Boston's "negative energy" that night, earning a 97-92 road win to hand the Celtics their fourth consecutive loss.

Those bad vibes resulted in a second-round playoff exit and a subsequent Celtics roster overhaul, as Irving, Al Horford, Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier all departed in free agency.

Kanter seems confident in the 2019-20 Celtics, though, even insisting he'd rather take new point guard Kemba Walker over the uber-talented Irving.

That's a pretty hot take -- Irving is three years younger than Walker with double the All-Star appearances -- but Kanter is hoping there's something to be said for strong leadership, which Walker appears capable of providing.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Evan Turner played a key role in selling Enes Kanter on Celtics

Evan Turner played a key role in selling Enes Kanter on Celtics

Danny Ainge himself admitted Enes Kanter probably could have made more money elsewhere.

So, why did the veteran big man choose the Boston Celtics in free agency? You can thank Evan Turner in part.

As Kanter considered the C's as a free-agent destination, Ainge suggested he reach out to Turner, his teammate on the Portland Trail Blazers for part of the 2019 season and former Celtic who spent two seasons in Boston from 2014 to 2016.

Turns out that was a good suggestion, as Turner gave Kanter a five-star review of the C's.

"He told me how amazing and friendly the front office was," Kanter told The Athletic's Jay King on Wednesday after his introductory press conference at the Auerbach Center. "He told me it’s like a family. From the moment that you step on that court, they’re going to love you, treat you like family."

Turner also sold Kanter on the basketball side of Boston, and with good reason: The veteran wing parlayed two solid seasons under Celtics head coach Brad Stevens into a four-year, $70 million contract with the Blazers.

"(Turner) told me how much he trusts in Brad," Kanter told King. "All he kept saying is how much he trusts in him.

" ... He told me amazing things about the organization, about the fan base, about the coaching staff and everything. So, it’s pretty awesome."

Combine Kanter's trust in Turner (one of his close friends in Boston) with a separate phone call from fellow recruit Kemba Walker and a good first impression from the Celtics' ownership, and the 27-year-old big man was convinced to sign in Boston -- where he fittingly took Turner's former No. 11 jersey.

"I just met all the owners today,” Kanter said at his press conference. "I’ve never seen anything like this before. They actually come talk to you, and that just shows so much respect. They’re having a conversation with you. That's something that’s very special."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

About last night: Warriors break out the brooms (again)

usatsi_12749832.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Photo

About last night: Warriors break out the brooms (again)

WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT

Warriors remain golden with fifth straight trip to NBA Finals

You have to go back to the Boston Celtics of the late 1950s-early 1960s since we last saw a team make five or more straight trips to the NBA Finals the way the Golden State Warriors have after completing a four-game sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.

And as much as the triple-doubles posted by Stephen Curry and Draymond Green in Game 4 were huge for their win, the same holds true for the contributions from Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell, Quinn Cook and Alfonzo McKinnie, who collectively made up for the absence of Andre Iguodala and Kevin Durant, who missed he entire series against the Blazers with a calf injury. 

Yes, this is a star-studded team with a quartet of superstars. But as we saw in Game 4, this team's success runs deeper, much deeper, than their front-line talent, which has them poised to win a third straight NBA title.

SO... THAT HAPPENED


NUMBER OF NOTE

15 — In sweeping the Trail Blazers, the Warriors became the first team in the last 20 years to overcome a deficit of 15+ points to win three consecutive games.

THEY SAID IT

“He’s been tattle-telling on me since birth.”

— Golden State’s Steph Curry, when told that Portland’s Seth Curry, his younger brother, was among those yelling out that he traveled on a play in Game 4. 

MONDAY'S SCOREBOARD

  • Warriors 119, Trail Blazers 117 (OT) — GS wins series 4-0

WHAT WE'LL BE WATCHING

How will The Greek Freak rebound?
 
Of course we’re talking about him rebounding from a disappointing 12-point performance in Milwaukee’s Game 3 double-overtime loss, even though his actual rebounding total (23 boards) in Game 3 was at a career-best level. 

Limiting his impact was certainly a big key to Toronto getting the Game 3 win, but the Raptors will have to be even better tonight with the knowledge that they’re facing a highly motivated Milwaukee team with many of those same Bucks players feeling they should have won Game 3 despite their best player having an off-night scoring the ball.

How the Bucks feel is irrelevant; it’s about how they perform when it matters tonight against a Raptors team that seemed on the brink of extinction a couple nights ago, who can find new life in this series with a win tonight that would tie the series at two games apiece. 

So in a sense, tonight is a bounce-back kind of game for both the Raptors in their quest to even up the series, and the Bucks who will be seeking a more dominant scoring performance from Antetokounmpo, which would only strengthen their control of this series.

TUESDAY'S SCHEDULE

  • Bucks at Raptors, Game 4 (MIL leads series 2-1) — 8:30pm, TNT

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.