The incident did not get personal, according to witnesses. Irving and Stevens are known to have a close relationship, which Irving has credited as part of the reason he has committed long-term to Boston. It is not unusual for a star player and his team to have these types of blow-ups, but it needed to occur and came during a notable turning point early in this Celtics season.
“Truth is, I’m not necessarily playing the minutes that I want, the role that I want, that selfishly I would want for myself,” Celtics star Kyrie Irving said last Friday. “And that all goes on the back burner in terms of being patient with what I have to do to grow as a leader of this team and help these other young guys to be more prepared for what they will encounter as they get older in this league and then what we’re going through right now.”
The Boston Celtics kept the locker room closed for 36 minutes following Friday night's 120-107 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden, holding a team meeting to clear the air after losing a third straight game. "Much needed," Celtics guard Kyrie Irving said of the discussion. "Much needed.
The most pointed criticisms of the team's recent play -- and the reasoning behind the meeting -- came from Irving, who repeatedly cited a lack of "cohesion" and said that there has been "some selfish play" among his teammates. "At this point it comes down to cohesion, being able to trust the pass, trust what we have going on out there," Irving said. "Obviously some selfish play out there where ... we have some really talented guys, but we're better as a team sharing the basketball. And, if it's late in the shot clock, that's when we start shooting our iso plays, as opposed to if we have nothing in transition shooting with 16 or 17 on the clock, or shooting a fadeaway, something like that.
With a .500 record 18 games into the season, Smart was in no mood for any more “it’s still early” talk. “It’s the same old song,” he said in a quiet, matter-of-fact tone. “You know, it gets annoying. I don’t even know what to say at this point. You’ve already done heard it. I’m tired of talking about it. I don’t know.”
“I am,” he said, “but we’ve got to stop sugarcoating things. That’s the problem. We’ve got to stop sugarcoating it. We’ve just got to call it what it is. We’re playing like punks; that’s just what it is. “It’s not everybody. You’ve got guys out there that are playing and playing hard. That’s some, but we don’t have all five guys at the same time. So teams are going to continue to whup us.”
“It’s us not playing hard,” he said. “It has nothing to do with being tentative, because obviously you see guys jacking up shots, so it can’t be us being tentative. “You know, at some point when a guy scores on you repeatedly -- a team busts on you repeatedly -- eventually you’re going to get tired of it hopefully. But that’s not the case with us. We’re OK with getting down 20 or getting down early or letting teams get hot, letting teams feel comfortable.”
Jeff Goodman: Brad Stevens on the defense: "We stunk, but they had a lot to do with that." Stevens said he's not concerned with the fight of his team.
Bill Doyle: Celtics embarrassed by Cavs, 121-99, in warm-up to Paul Pierce's No. 34 retirement ceremony. Some boos at the end. LeBron and Kyrie embrace.
Adam Himmelsbach: Horford: “We have to understand teams are coming for us. I felt like we’ve handled it OK throughout the season, but it’s even more evident now, so we have to do a good job of making sure we’re bringing the fire and they’re not bringing it to us.”
Jared Weiss: Al Horford: "In my eyes, I feel like we’re fighting for our lives right now. That has to be our mindset going into Tuesday’s game & we’ll take it a game at a time, focus on Tuesday & make sure we come out with a lot of energy & that we’re able to sustain it throughout the game."
Jared Weiss: Jaylen Brown on Celtics' first 3-game losing streak of the season: "It’s hard to pinpoint a common thread. We just have to play better. We haven’t been playing to our level. Everybody has to step up, including me."
Ainge spoke with Thomas yesterday after the All-Star had questioned Brad Stevens’ substitution pattern in Monday’s loss to the Clippers. It was the second time this season Thomas had let his frustration out in a public fashion, and Ainge defended his coach while trying to make it a learning experience for his star. “Nobody prepares more for a game than Brad,” Ainge told the Herald, “not even Isaiah, who really prepares. Players don’t know what it’s like to coach. I took Isaiah’s comments as frustration. He hates to lose. But good leaders don’t look for blame. It’s easy to lead when things are going well. It’s much more difficult when adversity strikes. And everyone will face adversity. I know Brad is a great coach — even one of the best — but that doesn’t mean he won’t make a mistake, just like great players do. But I know he will learn from his mistakes because he doesn’t look to place blame but looks internally for what he can do to maximize his talent.”
That last comment can be taken as a hint for Thomas. “I talk with Isaiah about becoming a better leader, and I think he can and will develop into one,” said Ainge. “He, too, will learn from this.”
Before the morning session to prepare for meeting with the Warriors on the other side of the bay, Thomas at first joked, “It’s you guys’ fault, man. “Nah,” he went on, “it’s whatever. It happens. I didn’t mean to throw anybody under the bus. That’s not me. I just said how I felt at that time. My job is to just to move on and do my job and don’t make it a distraction, because it’s not. I didn’t do it to throw anybody under the bus. I was frustrated. I thought we should have won the last two games, and that’s just how I felt. I mean, I was always taught to speak my mind. But for the most part, I don’t want to be a distraction. My teammates know that. It’s bigger than how I feel, I guess. I’m just going to move forward and look forward to tonight, and hopefully we can get a win.”
According to Stevens, the way Thomas dealt with things after speaking to the media in L.A. kept it from being an obstacle. “Isaiah reached out to me really quickly,” said the coach. “If it would have been reversed, where I would have had to initiate it, I think that may be an issue. But it wasn’t, so, again, I didn’t lose any sleep over it. I didn’t put much thought into it until it became a deal that everybody was talking about, and, at the point in time, I heard from Isaiah pretty quickly. So I don’t put a lot of stock (into it). I understand the emotions and how high they run at the end of games, win or lose. I have to go out there every day and talk after the game, too, and it’s not an easy thing to do all the time. And so I get it, and I’m OK with the fact that people are going to say some things, and you may have to have that moment where you communicate back and forth. But I don’t put too much stock into it, to be honest.”
Chris Forsberg: Brad Stevens says Crowder wished he hadn't expressed himself like he did. Says Crowder is "all in" on Boston.
Steve Bulpett: Isaiah Thomas admits to Herald he skipped out on media last night because he was afraid of what he might say... Story to be posted soon.
Scott Souza: #Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas: We have to get back to being the Celtics team I've been a part of last year and a half.
August 10, 2022 | 6:04 pm EDT Update
Moritz Wagner: “Spending the summer with the guys who make this experience quite unique was my highlight of the year last year and was something I looked forward to with excitement all season. The fact that my ankle isn’t healed is difficult to accept at first, but it’s part of the game. This team is special and I’m looking forward to watching the boys play and supporting them”.
Just hours after the announcement about Mo Wagner missing the Eurobasket, the German team bounced back with an 87-83 win over Belgium in a very close game. Franz Wagner with 23 points and five rebounds and free agent Dennis Schroder with 21 points and seven assists got the job done. Daniel Theis added 8 points for the winning side, which didn’t use Karim Jallow, Maodo Lo, Johannes Thiemann, and Johannes Voigtmann.
The demolition process of the Sacramento Kings former home has started. Demolition of Sleep Train Arena is underway and some of the work can be seen from the exterior. The popular “6th Man” statue has also been removed. The plan is to completely demolish Sleep Train Arena to make way for redevelopment in the same space.
August 10, 2022 | 4:15 pm EDT Update
A jersey worn by basketball star Michael Jordan during one of the most famous seasons in his NBA career is expected to reach up to $5 million at auction. Jordan wore the Chicago Bulls jersey in Game 1 of the 1998 NBA Finals, and it will be one of only two of his jerseys worn in a finals game to ever appear at auction, according to Sotheby’s.
An estimate of $3 million-$5 million is the highest ever for a Jordan jersey, or any piece of Jordan memorabilia, the auction house said. The 1997-1998 season is known as “The Last Dance,” and was the subject of a 2020 ESPN/Netflix documentary series by the same name.