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Dublin: 1°C Sunday 7 March 2021

Kyrie Irving: I'll never question Celtics 'teammates in public like that ever again'

Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving explained his critical comments of his teammates.

Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving
Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving

KYRIE IRVING SAID he will never question his teammates in public again after the Boston Celtics star’s criticism on Saturday.

Irving was obviously frustrated after Eastern Conference contenders the Celtics lost 105-103 to the Orlando Magic in the NBA.

After the defeat in Orlando, Irving said the “young guys don’t know what it takes to be a championship level team.”

It was Boston’s second consecutive loss on the road following four successive victories at TD Garden.

Source: ESPN/YouTube

Irving further explained the comments he made following the narrow defeat during Boston’s shoot-around on Monday.

“I never want to come from a place where I don’t want to sound like, or make it feel like, I don’t want to win a championship,” Irving said.

“Sometimes I may come off and say things, never to question my teammates in public like that ever again; I just want to win so bad.”

Irving suggested the players are feeling the pressure of lofty expectations placed on them at the beginning of the season.

“It came from a place where I asked for a trade and I’m coming here and I believe in this organisation and I want these young guys to be successful,” Irving said. “In order to that, we all got to be on the same page and have that mindset that, a championship or nothing.

“And sometimes that can get the best of me at times.”

The Celtics (25-18) lost 109-102 to the Brooklyn Nets (22-23) without Irving (quad) and Marcus Smart (illness). 

Nets Center Jarrett Allen scored 19 points with 12 rebounds and forward Rodions Kurucs added another 19 points for the Nets, who improved to 22-23 — good enough for seventh in the Eastern Conference.


Elsewhere last night, scoring juggernaut James Harden poured in a season-high 57 points to power the short-handed Houston Rockets to a 112-94 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Harden’s latest monster game highlighted a night of NBA action that saw Hornets point guard Tony Parker receive a hero’s welcome in San Antonio — the city where he starred for 17 seasons.

Source: ESPN/YouTube

Parker had a modest eight points, four assists and three rebounds in 19 minutes on the court in the Hornets’ 108-93 win — all with Spurs fans cheering him on.

“Man, a lot of love,” said Parker, who won four NBA titles with San Antonio. “I’ve been with those fans for a long time and I really appreciate (this).

“It’s hard to describe the feeling I have right now.”

Harden departed the court in Houston to a rousing ovation as well, and it owed nothing to nostalgia.

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With the Rockets reeling from the news that center Clint Capela will likely miss at least four weeks with a thumb injury — joining an injury list that already included Chris Paul and Eric Gordon — Harden happily shouldered the burden.

“No pressure,” Harden said. “I do this for a living. I have fun with it.”

He extended his streak of consecutive 30-point games to a remarkable 17 — and he did it by halftime with 36 points before the break.

It’s the longest such streak since Wilt Chamberlain had 20 straight games of 30 or more points in 1964, surpassing Lakers great Kobe Bryant’s 16-game 30-point streak in the 2002-03 season.

It was the 11th 50-point game for an NBA player this season — three of those belonging to Harden.

His latest huge game came a day after he scored 38 points in a loss to the Orlando Magic, despite connecting on a dismal one of 17 three-point attempts.

“I knew he was dog-tired,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I knew he was trying to orchestrate it early and try to save his legs a little bit.”

But D’Antoni admitted he could only marvel at Harden’s determination.

“The guys guarding him are really good defenders,” said D’Antoni, who notched his 600th career win as a coach.

The third quarter opened with the Grizzlies throwing double- and triple-teams at Harden, whose scoring pace slowed.

His teammates stepped it up, however, and the Rockets took an 87-70 lead into the final quarter.

Harden got a breather early in the fourth, but re-entered the contest when Memphis closed within 13 points with 7:11 left to play.

With 4:43 remaining Harden was fouled as he drained a three-pointer, making the free throw to complete the four-point play as Houston pulled away.

Sacramento guard Buddy Hield scored 19 points to lead six Kings players in double-figures in a 117-105 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

De’Aaron Fox added 16 points to help the Kings win their third straight.

Damian Lillard led Portland with 35 points, reaching the 12,000-point milestone for his career.

In Los Angeles, New Orleans forward Anthony Davis scored 46 points and pulled down 16 rebounds to pace the Pelicans in a 121-117 victory over the Clippers.

Monday night’s NBA results

LA Clippers 117 New Orleans 121
San Antonio 93 Charlotte 108
Brooklyn 109 Boston 102
Sacramento 115 Portland 107
Utah 100 Detroit 94
Houston 112 Memphis 94

© – AFP, 2019   

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