Kyrie Irving has arrived.
With all the star power on the Boston Celtics, it has taken them a little bit of time to get situated into a rhythm on the offensive end early this season. With so many mouths to feed, seldom have multiple players gone off all at once.
So while Irving has posted some respectable performances by his standards so far, Tuesday’s 108-105 win over the Detroit Pistons was his big coming out party for this season. The star point guard dropped 31 points (a season high by nine points) with five boards and as many rebounds in the victory. He shot 10-for-16 from the field, hitting four of his seven attempts from beyond the arc while going 7-for-8 on free throws.
It was a stark contrast from Saturday’s win over Detroit in which he scored three points on five assists, taking just five shots.
The second half was when Irving really started to go off, and the results for the team as a whole showed. He scored 13 points in the third quarter alone, so it hardly was a coincidence that was the frame they went up by 10 after outscoring the Pistons by 12.
It’s no surprise that Irving hasn’t come storming out of the gate considering how last season finished for him. But the way he performed against the Pistons and took over the game was a pretty big indication that he’s starting to feel it again.
And in the inevitable cases that he has off nights, it sounds like there is zero skepticism on his end to utilize the talent around him.
The excitement around the Celtics is legitimate, but Irving finding a groove on the attack and acting appropriately when he’s cold is going to be essential if they want to live up to their lofty expectations.
Here are some other notes from Tuesday’s Celtics-Pistons game:
— Aron Baynes played in his first contest since Oct. 20 due to a tweaked hamstring, and it didn’t take long for him to get the feel of things.
In addition to his routinely sound defensive play off the bench, he scored nine points while grabbing five boards and dishing out one assist. All nine of his points came in the first quarter, and through the first 12 minutes he was the game’s leading scorer.
Three of his nine points came on a 3-pointer, which marked a record for the Australian big man. It was his fourth trey of the year, which is a career high.
Yes, a career high.
Baynes drained three shots from distance last season, which set a career high at that point. Similarly to Al Horford, Baynes shooting threes is by design. He’s establishing himself as enough of a threat from beyond the arc that now teams have to at least keep an eye on him from the perimeter. It has made Horford a far more dangerous player, and while Baynes likely won’t shoot with the efficiency (or volume) his fellow big man does, it adds another thing for opposing defenses to think about.
— Marcus Morris has yet to start a game this season, but he’s had a massive impact off the bench.
Morris tallied 15 points on 5-for-11 shooting, reeling in nine boards with three assists and one steal. In seven games this campaign, the forward is averaging 14.4 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting 49.3-percent from the field and 48.4-percent from 3-point territory.
Boston’s reserves arguably are the best in the game, and Morris is an integral part of that.
— The Celtics have owned the Pistons lately. With the wins over Detroit on Saturday and Tuesday, Boston now has won six of its last seven contests against the Pistons.
— Boston will be tasked next with its biggest contest to date as the Milwaukee Bucks will roll into town for a tilt at TD Garden on Thursday.
The Celtics’ first-round opponent from last season has gotten off to a hot start, going 7-0 to kick off the new campaign. The Bucks won’t play again until they meet the Celtics, meaning their undefeated record will be on the line.