Kyrie Irving has downplayed the Boston Celtics’ season-opening game Tuesday against his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
When asked about his return to Quicken Loans Arena, Irving responded by saying “it’s just hoops.”
But while Irving isn’t making a big deal out of the marquee matchup on opening night, his teammates, especially Gordon Hayward, know how important this game is for the star point guard.
“It’s a huge game for Kyrie, and I think one we’re all looking to play our best for him, not only for the team but for him,” Hayward said, per ESPN’s Chris Forsberg. “We know it’s a big game for him.”
The C’s acquired Irving from the Cavs in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round draft pick and the Miami Heat’s 2020 second-round pick.
Whether Irving wants to admit it or not, a win against LeBron James and his former team on opening likely is at the top of his to-do list for the upcoming season.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports