Celtics can forget about the NBA Finals if Kyrie Irving's leadership, youthful C's sense of urgency doesn't improve

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Celtics can forget about the NBA Finals if Kyrie Irving's leadership, youthful C's sense of urgency doesn't improve

Post by 112288 on Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:49 pm

Celtics can forget about the NBA Finals if Kyrie Irving's leadership, youthful C's sense of urgency doesn't improve

NBC SPORTS BOSTON By A. Sherrod Blakely January 14, 2019 11:16 AM

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Nobody said this road to being an elite team wouldn’t come with a few bumps -- OK, quite a few bumps -- along the way for the Boston Celtics (25-17).

They just passed the official midway point of the season, and there’s a growing sense that they are entering a crucial/crossroads-like stretch … and it has little to do with their upcoming schedule and everything to do with who they are or more specific, who they are not right now.

You have two converging forces at work now.

In Kyrie Irving, you have an uber-talented star trying to figure out the right way to lead one of the best teams talent-wise in the NBA, a role he has never had before with a team this good.

And the players he is charged with leading are ridiculously young in the grand scheme of title-contending teams. Because of that youth, they don’t always play with a heightened sense of urgency that a team with more veterans might play with.

Until those two things improve, Irving’s leadership and the youthful Celtics playing with a greater sense of urgency more consistently, this team will be fortunate to get out of the first round of the playoffs let alone get to the NBA Finals.

Irving did not hold back in unleashing one of the realest post-game pressers he has done since becoming a Celtic, following Boston’s 105-103 loss at Orlando.

There were a number of things that bothered Irving in that game, including a last-second decision made by Gordon Hayward.

It was a message delivered only in Kyrie Irving-style, full of salient points that sometimes veered off course but all seemed to eventually take you on a journey inside his thoughts on the state of the Celtics.

And what a ride it was.

Regurgitating what he said right now, is pointless.

The gist of his message was that, while he has been patient with his teammates and the growing pains he knows they are going through now, they have to play harder for longer stretches and be smarter in their in-game decision making - a point that applies to some of his more experienced teammates who like the youngsters, may not necessarily have any experience in playing a prominent role with a legit title contending team.

While there are some fans (and probably a few players) who might have thought Irving’s words were harsh, he’s the best player on the team and the anointed leader of the pack - something that players, coaches and Irving himself acknowledge.

That comes with a level of responsibility to not only praise them when they do well, but also get on them when they don’t.

It is a tricky balancing act for anyone, even more challenging for someone charged with being that guy for the first time of a team that has this amount of talent surrounding him.

But I’m less concerned with how they feel about Irving’s words, than I am how they will respond tonight against the Nets (21-23, seventh in the East) who are not the lottery locks that they have been in year’s past.

Brooklyn, while not a title contender, is the kind of team that could give Boston problems in large part because the Nets have consistently played hard which is the last thing a team with inconsistent effort like the Celtics want to deal with.

And making matters even more complicated, Irving will not play due to a sore quadriceps injury. Marcus Smart is also expected to miss Monday's game, as he was sent back to the hotel at shootaround due to sickness.

If he’s out, replacing him most likely would be Terry Rozier, who has played well in a starting role while being inconsistent when coming off the bench.

If Irving sits and Rozier plays well, it’ll only fuel the narrative many have that Rozier can only play well as a starter, something that’s not going to happen as long as Kyrie Irving is a Celtic which he has already expressed he wants to be for many years to come.

It’s great that the Celtics have the kind of depth where a perennial All-Star like Irving can miss a game and the team has a guy (Rozier) they can turn to who more nights than not, steps up and plays well in the role of a starter.

But as we’re seeing, just because you have a bunch of talented players riding with you, doesn’t mean the road towards success is any smoother to travel.


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Re: Celtics can forget about the NBA Finals if Kyrie Irving's leadership, youthful C's sense of urgency doesn't improve

Post by dboss on Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:07 pm

No good reason to turn a molehill into a mountain.

Kyrie is on board and understands that he stepped over the line the other night.

Now it is time to move forward if the damn media will let us move forward.

We expect Terry to play well whenever he is inserted into the starting lineup. There is no speculation about that. There are a lot of teams that would love to have Terry running the show. That is the main reason why he will be gone after this year. So enjoy him now.
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Re: Celtics can forget about the NBA Finals if Kyrie Irving's leadership, youthful C's sense of urgency doesn't improve

Post by k_j_88 on Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:09 pm

I think it comes down to effort and honestly it hasn't been consistent. Oh yeah and TOO MANY THREES.


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