BROOKLYN — Yeah, so all those ‘Best Team in January’ and ‘Watch out NBA, Celtics are Hitting Their Stride’ stories.’
The Celtics left TD Garden last Thursday after throttling the Indiana Pacers with their chests puffed out and looking like a team on the cusp of finally actualizing their massive potential.
They return after an oh-and-3 road trip (against eminently beatable teams) once again looking inward, trying to figure out what their identity is.
A road trip that saw…
- Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris get into a shoving match on the bench in Miami.
- Kyrie Irving call out younger players for lack of experience and effort after a brutal loss to Orlando.
- 4 of the Celtics top 6 players in uniform (Rozier, Hayward, Horford, Morris) get benched for the entire 4th quarter of an ugly loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
And while Kyrie Irving’s message Saturday was for the Celtics to cut the distractions off the court, Jaylen Brown’s postgame remarks after Monday night’s loss seemed to be not so subtly directed at Kyrie. Let’s cool it the public commentary.
“We gotta be more accountable as a group. It’s not one guy’s fault, it’s not young guys’, old guys’ fault, it’s everybody. So we all gotta be accountable and turn this thing around. For stretches, we play good basketball. For stretches, we don’t. We all gotta have each other’s back.”
“If we don’t, we start pointing fingers and everybody’s going to go into their own little shell. We gotta continue to play basketball. It starts from the top to the bottom, not from the bottom to the top, but from the top to the bottom. We gotta to continue to empower each other and make the best of this. We got a lot of talent here. We know what we’re capable of doing. It’s just a matter of going out and doing it. Playing free, playing loose, and having fun.”
Brown’s comments were unprovoked and not even direct answers to the questions he was being asked.
For context. Jaylen wasn't even asked about Kyrie comments. He wanted to talk about it.— Celtics on CLNS (@CelticsCLNS) January 15, 2019
Q: How do you stop being uptight?
A: "We can't make comments. We can't point fingers. We just gotta empower each other. If we don't everybody's going to go into their own little shell."
Brown circled back to his key talking points, ‘having each other’s backs’ and leadership ‘starting at the top’ in his final two answers as well.
Fellow young’un Jayson Tatum had a different take on Irving’s comments saying they came from a good place.
“It’s not really directed towards anybody or calling guys out,” said Tatum. “He’s telling his truth. He knows what it takes to win a championship, and most of us don’t. Sometimes you have to be brutally honest in this profession to get the best out of one another. It comes from a good place. It’s not trying to bring anybody down.”
To make matters more confusing, Kyrie decided to apologize for calling out his teammates in public while Coach Stevens has been very subdued on the entire topic.
2018-19 is proving to be one of the strangest seasons in recent Celtics’ history. The Celtics hope to pull it together tonight as the Toronto Raptors come to town.
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