Cris Carter Issues Challenge To Kyrie Irving Before Celtics Vs. Bucks Game 4


May 6, 2019

Cris Carter would like to see more from Kyrie Irving.

The Celtics have suffered back-to-back losses to the Bucks in their second-round NBA playoff series, giving Milwaukee a 2-1 edge in the best-of-seven set ahead of Game 4 in Boston. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been a beast for the Bucks, but Irving has been inconsistent for the Celtics, which flies in the face of the All-Star point guard’s reputation as a clutch performer.

As such, Carter issued a challenge Monday on FS1’s “First Things First” for Irving to step up. Whether Irving answers the call could go a long way toward determining whether the Celtics even the series Monday night before it shifts to Milwaukee for Game 5.

“Kyrie is one of the few superstars, if not the only one, that we have not seen either take over a game, either hit a buzzer-beater or have like one of those sensational quarters,” Carter said. “He said he’s born for this, that’s why he came to Boston, that’s why they traded for him to come to Boston. Well, Game 4 is a Kyrie moment.

“We talked about Chris Paul with the (Houston) Rockets — it’s time for him at this point in his career. If Boston is going to have a chance as far as signing (Irving), forget about trying to win this series, he’s going to have to have some Kyrie moments for him to continue with the Celtics now. A lot of people believe that this is over for him. This is not the way you wanna go out.”

The Bucks, who own the top seed in the Eastern Conference, were the favorites coming into the series, but the Celtics also were riding high after sweeping the Indiana Pacers in the first round. Boston then took Game 1 in convincing fashion, making it fair to wonder whether the C’s finally had put everything together after an up-and-down regular season that included a surprising number of lows.

That idea came to a screeching halt in Game 2, when Milwaukee bounced back with a 21-point win. The Bucks also took Game 3 in Boston, reminding folks why they owned the NBA’s best record during the regular season.

“I think one of the problems too with the Celtics is ever since they traded for Kyrie and after they did well last year in the playoffs without Gordon (Hayward) and without Kyrie, everyone’s always been thinking a championship. So it’s either championship in Boston or bust,” Carter said Monday. “But the championship really, the pedigree, would be Milwaukee and how they played this season. The Celtics have been inconsistent, Milwaukee has played (well), and they play a style that people aren’t familiar with either.

“This is not the Eastern Conference. (The Bucks) play a lot like either Houston or Golden State as far as knowing the analytics, as far as spreading the court and having shooters and having that star that can take over the game. It’s exciting to see, because we don’t always see it — a team … as dominant as they were in the regular season, the number of blowout wins that they had, will we see this in the postseason? And now we’re starting to see that.”

Despite what Carter said, Irving has had plenty of huge crunchtime moments in his NBA career. He might need a few signature performances against the Bucks to keep the Celtics’ playoff hopes alive, though, as Milwaukee definitely has looked like the better team with the exception of Game 1.

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