Jay King: Gerald Green helped swing CHI series, but understands this ones different: “That series is so far over with I can’t even think about that.”
November 24, 2017 | 11:06 am EST Update
When LeBron James was asked about Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue challenging him at halftime of Wednesday’s victory over the Brooklyn Nets, James was clearly perturbed. Perhaps not only because it happened, but because Lue revealed to the media what had been said behind closed doors. “I told him at halftime, ‘You messing around,’ ” Lue said after a 119-109 triumph at Quicken Loans Arena. “But I didn’t say messing around.”
LeBron James shrugged his shoulders, smirked, and paused for a moment. Then he thought back to a poor series of plays after he missed a spectacular fastbreak dunk with 3:39 left in the first quarter. After that, coincidence or not, the Cavs lost their focus. “Whatever T-Lue say goes, so, you know, he knows how to challenge me sometimes,” James said.
“My team looks at me to be that scorer now,” LeBron James said. “The last couple years, Kyrie Irving obviously being as great as he was in the fourth quarter, we kind of picked our games. There were games half the time that he had it going and, ‘Hey, go get [it].’ There were games half the time where I had it going and I’d go get it. “But right now my teammates look at me and they’re like, ‘OK, like this is your quarter. You’ve done this your whole career. Let’s try to make some things happen.’ It’s very important that I try to come through for them.”
The Celtics established themselves as one of the NBA’s elite teams, a contender for the Eastern Conference title, during their 16-game win streak. However, that hot streak to start the season will matter as much as Thanksgiving leftovers in the back of the refrigerator in April by the time the playoffs roll around. This is a team that still has work to do. Which is what Kyrie Irving was getting at in this post-loss quote from Friday night, via Israel Gutierrez of ESPN. “There’s still a lot to accomplish going forward,” Irving said. “It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end.”
Chris Forsberg: Didn’t think we’d soon see anything close to what the King in the Fourth did during the final quarters last season. What is it about the fourth quarter for Irving? “Pretty simple: It’s winning time, man,” Kyrie Irving said. “Been doing it for a few years in the league in the fourth quarter. Just doing whatever is needed to get the win.”
“Obviously, we had a whole kind of group of things that we were going to go to or had planned on going to the first week of the season, with him and Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, really, in particular spots,” Stevens said. “We gotta make small tweaks to that, obviously, just trying to keep it as simple and spaced as possible. “[Kyrie Irving is] so good in those moments that you want to give him the appropriate amount of room. Maybe it’s finding a matchup, maybe it’s creating a two-man game with Al. And it really just kinda depends on what he feels and what we’ve seen their defense have a tendency to do.”