DALLAS — Add Jaylen Brown to the list of Celtics players who have grown tired of questions about Kyrie Irving.
Brown was quoted in a Dec. 16 Heavy.com story saying Irving was “undeserving” of the blame for last year’s disappointing season, and instead said the “organization and coaching staff” should shoulder most of the blame.
Brown refuted those comments before Wednesday night’s game against the Mavericks, saying his statements were mischaracterized.
“I think it was a misquote, for sure, but to be honest I’m tired of talking about it and tired of being asked about it,” he said. “It definitely, I would say, was a misquote. It didn’t come off the way I said it, the way it was written with a narrative where [the writer] already wrote the story the way he wanted to write the story but it definitely wasn’t intended in that manner. But I’m tired of being asked about it to be honest.”
Brown might have had the most difficult relationship with Irving during their two years together, and when asked in Denver last month whether he feels more offensive freedom with Irving off the team, he declined to comment.
Questions about Irving increased over the past few weeks when the Celtics played the Brooklyn Nets, the point guard’s new team, twice in three days. Irving did not play in either matchup because of a shoulder injury.
After the Celtics’ Nov. 28 loss at Brooklyn, Marcus Smart said he was tired of fielding Irving questions. Now, Brown feels the same.
Brown averaged 23.6 points over a five-game stretch before an 8-point, 3-for-9 shooting effort Dec. 12 against the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers doubled Brown in the post, forcing him to be more of a playmaker.
“It was a frustrating game, of course,” he said. “Philly did a really good job. It’s obvious we’ve got to have a better pace, a better flow to the game. We’ll figure that out as the season goes along. It’s not going to be perfect right away.”
While the extra defensive attention was a sign of respect, Brown said he has to adjust to different defensive looks.
“[Philadelphia] doubled me in the post at times,” Brown said. “More attention for sure but I don’t think that’s going to stop me. I could still be effective. I don’t have to let that take me out of the game or be a distraction.”
After participating in the morning shootaround, Gordon Hayward was scratched from Wednesday’s game because of a sore left foot. Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Hayward has been dealing with the injury for a few weeks.
According to Stevens, Hayward underwent an MRI last week and then a cortisone shot. The MRI came back negative, but Hayward complained of increasing pain, including after the shootaround. He will receive another MRI and the hope is it’s just residual soreness from the cortisone shot.
“We’re hoping it’s just taking a little bit longer to settle in,” Stevens said. “But tough for him. He was not happy he wasn’t feeling great the last couple of days.”
Smart did not make the trip to his hometown of Dallas as his eye infection continues to keep him off the floor. Stevens offered no update. The Celtics begin a five-game stretch in eight days beginning Friday against Detroit, and depth is becoming an issue.
“From what I’ve heard he feels better as of last night,” Stevens said of Smart. “He’s been back to see more people. Hopefully he’s able to get on the court soon but there’s no real time line.”
The Celtics recalled rookie Romeo Langford from G-League Maine. Despite the Celtics having a five-day break, centers Robert Williams (hip) and Vincent Poirier (finger) were declared out for at least three weeks each.
“Usually when you get a little bit of a break you can get healthy, but that has been a little bit of the opposite for us,” Stevens said.
Rookie center Tacko Fall joined the team in Dallas to serve as the third center behind Enes Kanter and Daniel Theis. Fall has shown growth during his stint in the G-League.
“There will be games that he will be better suited for and there will be games that will be more challenging,” Stevens said. “It’s all about continuing to grow with the speed of the game. That’s the biggest thing.
Stevens said the team has not had conversations about acquiring another big man despite being down two centers.
“To be real candid, I have not even talked to Danny about it,” Stevens said. “We have a little bit of flexibility because we can bring Tacko up. We’re still very much in evaluation mode.”