It hasn’t been easy for the Boston Celitcs so far this season.
The Green entered the year as the overwhelming favorite to win the Eastern Conference and challenge the Golden State Warriors for an NBA championship. But Boston got off to a rocky start, opening the season 10-10, and has oscillated between blistering hot stretches of play and confounding losses for the last two months.
Reintegrating Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward into a team that was one win away from the NBA Finals a season ago hasn’t been easy for Brad Stevens, as Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier have had to adapt to lesser roles than they played last year.
As the Celtics exit the All-Star break in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, Irving, who has been surrounded by rumors regarding his future with the team of late, sat down with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols to discuss what this season has been like so far for the C’s.
“You know, you obviously have expectations to live up to individually, but as a team, it’s a lot to figure out all in one year,” Irving said. “You know, bringing in a lot more talent. We didn’t just fill in pieces here and there. We filled in pieces with great players, so a lot has changed since the beginning of the season, but overall I just want to win and I’m going to dedicate myself every single day and if I have to bring everybody else up with me then that’s just what I have to do.”
After the Celtics blew a 28-point to the Los Angeles Clippers, Marcus Morris ripped into the team for their lack of attitude and toughness while noting the C’s hadn’t been having fun for a long time.
Irving, who suffered a sprained knee during the loss, agreed with Morris that it had been a difficult year for the talented Celtics.
“It’s been a trying year for us,” Irving said. “You know, because we basically have a bunch of young men in our locker room that feel like they’re capable of doing a lot more than what they are doing, and that’s OK, but there’s a maturity that you have to have, there’s a professionalism that you really have to showcase every day and that’s what the great ones do.”
The Celtics have one of the NBA’s toughest remaining schedules so Irving must be at his best, both on the court and as a leader, if the Celtics are to finish strong and make a run at the NBA Finals.