It was a tough loss for the Boston Celtics on Saturday night, but no one seemed more frustrated than Kyrie Irving.
During the final seconds of the eventual 105-103 loss to the Orlando Magic, Gordon Hayward elected to inbound a pass to Jayson Tatum, not Irving, and Tatum missed the 18-foot shot as time expired. It was clear Irving was upset with Hayward’s decision. Hayward said he’s seen Tatum make that shot in practice several times, but the decision still didn’t seem to sit well with Irving.
After the game, the C’s second-year guard had a lot to say about the loss, but called out the team’s young players in particular, though he didn’t specifically address anyone by name.
He certainly raises a great point by saying the team didn’t have nearly the expectations last campaign as it does this one. The injury-riddled Celtics brought LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals last season — without Irving and Hayward. Players from the bench stepped up in the starting roles and certainly made names for themselves.
But because of the performances during the playoff run, the expectations for Boston were sky-high heading into the 2018-19 campaign, especially with a healthy Irving and Hayward back in the lineup. However, the season hasn’t gone the way many thought it would through the first 42 games. And while there’s still time to turn it around, it sounds like there’s plenty of work to be done to get to the “championship level” Irving is talking about.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images