BOSTON – The Boston Celtics All-Star Pointkeeper Kyrie Irving, who bridged his best performance in the 2018-19 season, praised a rather unlikely goal for him to get him on the track: Tommy Heinsohn.
Irving said he had accepted it as a challenge when Heinsohn twice suggested during the NBC Sports Boston Broadcasts that Irving did not feel fit in the season, which contributed to his uneven start to the new year.
Irving set a season high of 31 points in the 10 of 16 shots as the Celtics held the Detroit Pistons 108-105 on Tuesday night at the TD Garden. Irving came into play on Tuesday, scoring 39.1 percent out of the field and 24.1 percent over the 3-point bow, but looked much more like his old self.
In an interview with NBC Sports Boston in court asked if his new hairstyle had contributed to his offensive outbreak, Irving referred instead to the recent criticisms of Heinsohn.
It was hard to say whether Irving had been angered by Heinsohn's analysis because of his comments in court, but in the locker room after the game he stated.
"It's always great when someone challenges you that way. Especially with the level of respect I have for previous legends of Celtics, "said Irving. "And for him, to be precise, because I'm one of the leaders in this team, the most important one [focal] I needed to be in better shape on this team and challenge myself on both ends of the floor. I think he made it very clear to me.
"I got wind of it, probably like a week ago, and it bothered me, because it was the most honest thing anyone had said about my playing style, because I literally had to try to reach a level at which I played last year but also better, how do you do that? I really had to emphasize my body and pay attention to how I take care of my mind.
"That was one of the most real things I could have heard." As a competitor, if you do not annoy you, they itch in you that you want to be better, especially if a man – Tommy Heinsohn, you can not Celtics are, do something wrong in his eyes any not correct. And I appreciate that. And it was the truth. "
Although he had spent the summer following the two knee procedures that ended his 2017/18 season in March, Irving seemed to be in top form. He looked slim and strong as the reporters saw at the beginning of the camp.
But when Irving struggled to find his offensive rhythm, Heinsohn wondered twice if it was going to NBC Sports Boston's post-game, if Irving was out of shape.
"Personally, I think he's a little out of shape, for me it looks like he's a bit overweight, and to me – his timing, his speed – he may be slower than he is," Heinsohn said after Boston's victory in Boston New York on October 20th. "With a darting move last year, he managed to reach three people, I do not think he's that fast, but he'll come with me."
A week later, Heinsohn doubled his claim.
"He recovers from an injury, for me he looks like he's 5 pounds overweight, but I did not see him on the scales," Heinsohn said after Boston's win in Detroit on Saturday. He later added, "He's only one-half a step slow."
Irving said these comments only encouraged him to improve his conditioning.
"I needed to get in shape and I had to focus more on what I had done, but more emphasis," Irving said. "So I assumed that – I was on the bike the next morning, Versaclimb, I did everything I could to make sure I could prepare my body for the rest of the season, it's a long season, I just wanted to be prepared But I called him because that was the truth, I needed it. "
Essentially, Irving gave Tommy a Tommy Point.
Irving was asked if he intended to play in all 82 games of the season. However, he admitted that he is likely to miss a game against Utah Jazz to attend a memorial service for his grandfather. However, he admitted that trying to play in as many games as possible is a goal of his.
And he's obviously in a form that allows him to stay in the field this season.
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