Celtics guard Kyrie Irving credits a long plane ride, in which he had a lengthy talk with Celtics’ head coach Brad Stevens, for helping the team snap out of their recent funk, and the good feeling has spread throughout the team.
“I understand it’s one game,” Hayward said, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “You are going to have ups and downs in the season. I’ll try to build off the things I did correctly tonight, and the next time you have a bad game, try to learn from that one.”
Hayward’s recent play has provided a spark for the team.
“It makes our team even better when he’s the confident Gordon and playing like the Gordon we know,” Celtics guard Marcus Smart said.
“We know it’s been tough on him. That’s one thing about him, you have to give it to him: That man keeps working and working. Even though things aren’t going for him, he continues to work, he doesn’t quit, and that’s why we’re so, so optimistic about getting the old Gordon back, because we see how hard he works.”
“That long plane ride helped us out,” Celtics guard Kyrie Irving said. “I’ll just say that. That long plane ride helped us out.
“We needed it. It was just we were going to get to a point where we were just going to get tired of fighting each other, fighting the outside world. And it doesn’t even really matter. So, we just wanted to come out here and just play basketball. This is our sanctuary. And we have to do everything to protect it. We can’t let anybody infiltrate it.”
Irving opened up about the conversations he had with both Stevens and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.
“Well, I mean, it gets a little overwhelming, like I said, but this is just the business I’m in,” Irving said. “The business part of it is what makes it terrible for me, honestly, dealing with all this s—. I’m going to be honest with you guys. The basketball part, I have to keep that fun. That’s where I’m great, that’s where I love to play and be around my teammates, that’s what makes me happy.
“The business part of it is going to be the business. Personal side of being out here with my teammates is the only thing that should matter. It wasn’t really a change of perspective; it was letting the guard down completely and just not thinking I’m at odds with everybody. It’s not a competition in this locker room; it’s a competition out there. That’s the most important thing.”
“Talking with Brad was very helpful, talking with Danny was very helpful, and just expressing myself rather than keeping it all in,” Irving continued. “That made it very easy to just go out and just have fun playing basketball.”
Celtics’ Gordon Hayward Undergoes Surgery
Hayward suffered the injury during Saturday’s victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
Hayward, 29, had been showing signs of a return to form of late, so the injury comes at a bad time.
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According to the Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell, Walker has told the Hornets that he pans to signed with the Celtics once free agency kicks off.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Walker will ink a four-year, $141 million contract with Boston.
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