The Boston Celtics are rolling and it’s been mostly due to the play of guard Kyrie Irving who has had to wear a protective mask.
Irving is expected to remain in the clear mask for the next couple weeks, but still finds doing so a bit frustrating.
A few years back, Irving wore a black protective mask and went on to score a career-high 41 points against the New York Knicks.
Irving then switched to the clear mask, but his frustrations remain.
“I was telling some of my teammates, some of the fans, too, they were asking me whether I was going to wear the black mask” Irving said (h/t ESPN).
“The difference with the black mask is that (teammates are) not getting the ball because I couldn’t see outside of my eyesight,” Irving said to laughter.
“(Teammates were) like, ‘Oh, the Masked Man! The Black Mask! I scored that many (points for Cleveland) because I was just looking at the basket. So a lot of my peripheral vision and driving, I could only see what’s in front of me. That black mask, like, it just takes away your vision. So I’m just like, ‘Oh, basket.’ Like, this is just the best-case scenario. So that’s the whole black mask thing.
“I’m glad I get to wear a clear one. I’m telling (teammates), like, ‘Come on, show some gratitude. I’m showing gratitude, too, for not wearing that black mask.’ So, yeah, hopefully a few more weeks in the (clear) mask and I’ll be out of it.”
Irving knows he will have to stick with the protective mask and described his face as; “It’s broken. That’s that.”
Irving also expressed the challenges of wearing the mask while trying to play.
“It’s almost like having somewhat foggy blinders on,” Irving described.
“When I take off the mask, I can see everything. And when I have the mask on, I’m really dialed into what’s in front of me. My peripherals are a little cut off, up and down. It’s something to get used to.”
Celtics Pick Up Options on Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Guerschon Yabusele
Brown’s fourth-year option guarantees his $6,534,829 cap charge for next season, while Tatum will be locked in for a $7,830,000 cap hit for the 2019-2020 season, both moves considered to be no brainers given their development.
The decision on Yabusele, who hasn’t shown much of anything over 38 games since joining Boston, is a bit more of a surprise, but the Celtics see something in his to warrant their decision to keep him a part of their team moving forward.
Celtics’ Aron Baynes Ruled Out for Game Against Magic
The Boston Celtics will take the court for Monday’s game against the Orlando Magic without the services of center Aron Bynes, who has been officially ruled out due to a hamstring injury, the team officially announced.
Baynes suffered the injury during Saturday’s game against the New York Knicks, a game that saw him get the start for the first time this season, but was only able to play in just 12 minutes of action before the second quarter injury.
Baynes plays in a reserve role behind Al Horford and has scored 7.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game thus far this season.
Celtics’ Terry Rozier Rejected Contract Extension Offer
Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier rejected a contract extension from the team that would have paid him roughly $12 million annually, according to a report from A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.
Rozier’s decision to decline the contract offer was a decision made by him and his management team.
“I’m in a great situation,” Rozier said, according to NBC Sports Boston. “My team felt it wasn’t good for me to sign an extension right now. It opens my options a little bit, but I’m focused on what’s happening right now.”
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