With only two exhibition games left before the start of the regular season, Brad Stevens gave his All-Star point guard an uptick in minutes against the Hornets on Sunday and Kyrie Irving took advantage.
He played almost 29 minutes while scoring 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting to go with four assists. Irving weaved through defenders and earned trips to the free throw line as he found his offensive rhythm early and often against Kemba Walker and the Hornets.
When he wasn’t on the floor, he was vocal with his teammates from the bench and actively involved in huddles. It’s obviously important for Irving — who is coming off of season-ending knee surgery — to be as comfortable as possible come Oct. 16, when the Celtics begin the regular season at TD Garden against the Sixers.
So far, he’s looked like his old self since the start of training camp. Before Friday’s preseason opener, Stevens set the minute-restriction for his starting unit at 20 minutes, but he gave Irving the green light on Sunday, and the veteran’s 27 minutes mean he’ll skip the Boston half of a home-and-home with the Cavs to end the exhibition season.
“I looked at him in the third quarter and I said, ‘Man, just let me play the rest of this,'” Irving told reporters. “I definitely played a veteran’s 27 tonight. So you won’t be seeing me on Tuesday. I got myself going and you’ll see me again in Cleveland.”
Jayson Tatum, who was the only starter who played less than 20 minutes, supplied 16 points on a game-high 16 shots. The second-year forward picked his spots carefully and wasn’t shy in his offensive attack while shooting 6-for-16.
The Celtics will rest up for two days before taking on the Cavaliers at TD Garden on Tuesday.
Full article @ Kyrie Irving will skip next C’s game after extended, productive run vs. Hornets
Source: GreenStreet Blog