Colin Cowherd pulled out a spoon and devoured a huge bowl of crow Thursday, one day after the Milwaukee Bucks eliminated the Boston Celtics in the second round of the NBA playoffs.
Cowherd had been high on the Celtics all season — even during their low points — yet Boston went out with a whimper, losing four straight to Milwaukee by an average margin of 16.25 points after opening the series with a Game 1 victory.
Kyrie Irving has received much of the blame following the Celtics’ 116-91 loss in Game 5 on Wednesday night, and understandably so. Not only was Irving awful in Boston’s final four games, he also contributed to a weird environment around the team, which came within one win of reaching the NBA Finals last season when Irving was sidelined with a knee injury.
Many pundits believe Irving leaving the Celtics in free agency this offseason could be a blessing in disguise for the organization. Cowherd, for one, doesn’t think Irving fits the city of Boston, let alone the Celtics.
Irving certainly marches to the beat of a different drum, seemingly focused more on the philosophical side of basketball (and life). This isn’t to say he’s wrong in how he goes about his business, although his leadership ability has been scrutinized ad nauseam. It’s just not what the city is accustomed to seeing from its star players.
Cowherd pointed to Celtics legends Larry Bird, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett as being more in line with Boston’s expectations. Just like Michael Jordan “fit” Chicago and Magic Johnson “fit” Los Angeles, Cowherd argued, those stars “fit” Boston.
Whether you agree with Cowherd or not, there’s no denying the Celtics haven’t lived up to the hype with Irving leading the charge. The blame shouldn’t fall squarely on his shoulders, obviously, but heavy criticism is part of being the best player in a tough sports market, and it has felt at times like Irving is unwilling to embrace that aspect of the job.