BOSTON – The Boston Celtics are looking forward to getting guard Marcus Smart back, possibly as Game 4 against Milwaukee Monday night at TD Garden.
They should be better served, but the guard Kyrie Irving got back.
The Irving, who led his victory at Bucks' Court in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semi-final series Boston, was the latest and greatest repeat of the sixfold All-Star Point Guard. Irving scored 26 points, scored eleven assists and was so ready to orchestrate Boston's attack that even for a man on the national stage, as long as that was the case, it seemed like a breakthrough.
This type However, this series ended in the 48 hours before Game 2. From Kryie 3.0 Kyrie became uh-oh.
Irving's game was rushed, distanced and not mature at all. After scoring 1
Irving had a plus / minus of minus 26 in the two Celtics defeats. Worryingly, the player who is arguably the best NBA player to make difficult shots appeared to be inclined to complicate his shots , Too often he went solo, did not look for something better, found no other option or even did not even look for it.
Irving and Boston coach Brad Stevens had a side talk after mid-length Celtics Sunday afternoon. After that everyone talked to reporters. The point keeper did not share what he was talking about while the coach questioned the question.
"We just wanted to spend 15 minutes talking about the Kentucky Derby appeal," Stevens said. "How could that have happened? So we have had a conversation for so long, like the objection, and we talked about it in detail.
Not likely. Stevens probably talked to Irving about some of the things the coach told reporters Saturday and Sunday: the need for the Celtics not to settle down and not succumb to the chaos that triggered Milwaukee's defense by itself becoming chaotic.
For two days, Stevens had answered various questions and steered the discussion to Boston to use the ball as the surest way to high-quality punches.
"One of the things we need to do as a team is to read out the rights of the first ride," Stevens said, "and then from there. We better get the ball to the second side of the ground, the third side of the ground, and hopefully that will involve as many paint attacks as possible.
The Bucks revealed an alternate style of defense in Game 2, something they had not done much the whole season. Irving's eyes lit up too often when they saw the center of Robin Lopez or striker Nikola Mirotic, and the tunnel sight that was fired did not bring the best shot for Irving. Too seldom did the Celtics fail to move Milwaukee's defense from left to right and back again.
"We have to make sure we are patient to get the best looks," said Stevens Sunday. "That patience does not mean you get involved. You really have to work hard and be patient against these people. Because they cover up the color well.
Celtics players made only 9 of 19 attempts within 5 feet, a weak rate for NBA standards. Lopez was one of the best in the defense of the rim this season, and Giannis Antetokounmpo has the agility to keep his man off the wheel yet help out.
It is admirable that Irving was ready to take responsibility, and after losing Game 2, it was clear, "I signed up for that. That's what Boston did for me. "After each game, he gave detailed breakdowns about what went right, what went wrong, and most importantly, what he wanted to do in the next game.
It's just that his latest results did not meet his promises.
The Celtics have more talent than the Bucks and more players they can offensively carry through a game or just a crucial distance. But these scorers, from Jayson Tatum to Jaylen Brown to Al Horford and Gordon Hayward, depend on Irving to find them and deliver the ball at a pace.
Granted, Boston has to make up defensively. An average of 110 points should be enough if you do not get a 39 percent bubble from a 3-point area while your opponents are sent an average of 30 times a night to the free throw line.
Irving blamed all these interruptions for stealing transitional opportunities and generally dealing with the Celtics' crime. Nevertheless, he must do what Stevens calls the "control of the controllable," and he himself must be his best self. He has managed to compete with Milwaukee pointkeeper Eric Bledsoe, but that's not enough.
And yes, he signed up for that. The big unknowns of this off-season, as in Irving's future whereabouts, could wildly affect the events of the next few days. And what does he do?
"I have to be me. That's the easy part, "said Irving on Sunday. "The same way of thinking that I've always had. Be Aggressive Be patient. To be able to know the time of the game and where to make an impact. To be able to be in the right defensive position and communicate with my teammates.
"But that's the easy part. That's the fun part of going out there and just allowing the flow of the game to determine your instincts. "
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Steve Aschburner has been writing about the NBA since 1980. You can email him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter .
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