BOSTON — The Boston Celtics have been backed up against a wall.
After dropping Game 4 of their second-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night at TD Garden, the Bucks hold a commanding 3-1 lead as the series turns back to Milwaukee.
And while Kyrie Irving is far from the sole blame for the C’s three-game skid since taking Game 1, it’s hard to ignore that the point guard has struggled mightily from the floor over the last three games.
Irving put up arguably his worst playoff performance in Game 2, and things did not improve when the C’s returned home for Games 3 & 4. Irving led the Celtics with 23 points Monday, but was just 7-for-22 from the floor, including 1-for-7 from beyond the arc.
Over the last three games, Irving is 19-for-62 (30.6 percent) and a measly 4-for-20 from deep.
When asked if this was the worst shooting stretch he’s been through in the playoffs, the point guard had a pretty blunt initial response.
“Who cares?” Irving asked, before elaborating.
“I’m a basketball player, prepare the right way. Like I said, it’s a little different when your rhythm is challenged every play down,” Irving said. “You’re being picked up full court, they are doing things to test you. The expectations on me are going to be sky-high. I try to utilize their aggression against them and still put my teammates in a great position while still being aggressive. I am trying to do it all.”
Irving believes that despite the cold hand, he should have put more shots up.
“For me, I had 22 shots, I shoulda shot 30 … just the consistency of going at it, staying aggressive is always going to put us in a great position. Obviously Being more cautious on turnovers getting down the stretch when they are going on runs or managing the game better that way, I feel I can do better that way. But in terms of shooting, it’s a series. They are doing a great job of loading and putting a high emphasis on anywhere I go on the court.”
Irving certainly is not the biggest issue the C’s have at the moment, as Giannis Antetokounmpo virtually has been an unstoppable force, while Boston’s bench all but disappeared in Game 4.
But at what point does Irving have to be more accountable for his own words and actions? Remember, this is the same Irving that claimed in the regular the Celtics would be fine in the playoffs for one reason: him. That absolutely has not been the case.
The Celtics are not done yet, and it wouldn’t be the first time Irving helped a team back from down 3-1. Needless to say, the Celtics season is over if Irving continues to average 30 percent from the floor.