fb-pixel Skip to main content
celtics notebook

Brad Stevens and Kyrie Irving talked things out, and agreed there’s time to save the season

The Celtics Kyrie Irving had a talk after the team’s loss to Houston Sunday, and agreed there is time left to fulfill early-season expectations. jim davis/globe staff/Globe Staff

Sign up for Court Sense, our Celtics/NBA newsletter

OAKLAND, Calif. — Celtics coach Brad Stevens is again having to answer questions about his team’s turmoil and again Stevens is taking the positive approach, hoping his team can not only salvage this season but turn it into a memorable one for the right reasons.

Stevens had a conversation with Kyrie Irving after the team’s 115-104 loss to Houston Sunday, their seventh in 10 games, a chat where the two agreed that there’s time left to fulfill expectations.

“He has shouldered a heavy, heavy load and there’s a lot that comes with that and there’s a lot of stress that comes with that,” Stevens said of his All-Star point guard. “And I think he would be the first to tell you that this year hasn’t gone exactly how he hoped but this year’s not over. We talked a long time after the Houston game.

“That was something [that] had really hit him in that moment that there’s a lot of year left and these will be either part of the story that stays consistent and we’ll be able to write the story now or these will be blips on the radar and it turned into something good.”


The coherent theme in the past few days is the Celtics becoming more selfless and cohesive. The team has been heavily scrutinized by fans, NBA observers, and even themselves after failing to maintain consistency.

The Celtics started the season 10-10 and then won 15 of the next 20, then they lost three straight games, then won 10 of 11 before losing seven of 10.

“These are the times that test you and stretch you the most,” Stevens said. “Not only as a team but individually, to give of yourself. We have not [had] that at the level we need to all year. You could see it in the preseason and hopefully these things remind us how bad we need each other.”


Irving said Monday that his relationship with Stevens is strong and has progressed over the season. But the key to their success, Stevens said, is the entire roster playing well together.

“The reality is Kyrie was an All-Star but our strength is in our depth,” Stevens said. “Kyrie can do things other guys can’t do and those guys all bring certain strengths to the table but we’re not playing well, all nine of us, then we’re not as good as we’re supposed to be. We all have to be playing well. We hope to get there.”

The Celtics are embarking on perhaps the biggest regular season stretch of the Stevens era, with the potential to win all four games — Golden State, Sacramento, Lakers, Clippers — or lose four games and continue the chaos and increase the criticism.

“This is a great test to see if we can get back and play a good 48 minutes possession by possession, do it in a really mature way,” Stevens said. “You are going to have to respond [against the Warriors] or you’re going to get buried. That’s a good thing for us to have to go through.”

Stevens and Marcus Smart reiterated that there’s plenty of time to make the NBA Finals run expected at the beginning of the season.

“The reality is we all need a place to be human and to understand that if it’s not going great, what can we all do to make it go a little better and have a great, enjoyable experience,” Stevens said.


Smart said even one win can spark a metamorphosis.

“We did so good everybody from the outside looking in, expectations was greater than anybody probably would have imagined,” Smart said. “We’ve been pressing a lot because we’ve been trying to please everybody instead of just going and playing games and really focusing on ourselves. Our No. 1 goal is to get to the final and we still have a chance to do that. We still have time to fix things.”

.   .   .

For the first time this season, the Celtics had no injuries to report for Tuesday’s game, with Aron Baynes coming out of Sunday’s game OK after missing a month with a sore foot. The Warriors, meanwhile, were without two main contributors, including former All-Star Klay Thompson, who is still dealing with knee issues. Top defender Andre Iguodala told reporters Tuesday he was good to play after being listed as questionable.

Gary Washburn can be reached at gwashburn@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GwashburnGlobe.