Kyrie Irving’s Early-Season ‘Mood Swings’ Had Celtics Players ‘Treading Lightly’

Bleacher Report

Kyrie Irving's Boston Celtics teammates were reportedly "treading lightly" early in the 2018-19 season due to the All-Star guard's "mood swings." 

According to ESPN.com's Jackie MacMullan, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens and general manager Danny Ainge spoke about the problem with Irving, who promised to be "more aware."

Celtics guard Terry Rozier told MacMullan, "[Irving's] positive outlook lately has made a huge difference."

While the Celtics were struggling in January, Irving made some comments about the team's younger players that didn't necessarily go over well.

Per Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports, Kyrie questioned if his young teammates knew how to play championship basketball:

"The young guys don't know what it takes to be a championship level team. What it takes every day. And if they think it is hard now, what do they think it will be like when we're trying to get to the Finals?

"There were no expectations last year. Everyone played free and easy. Everyone surpassed whatever they expected for themselves. This year? We all have high expectations. The players, the coaches, everyone. And that's good, but we aren't doing it yet."

Irving, who appeared in three NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers and won a championship, put much of the burden on himself to turn things around: "We can get there. We've got to be better. I've got to be better. We need to win these games on the road. That's on me as a leader. I need to be a better leader and to help get us there."

With both Irving and Gordon Hayward on the shelf last season, the Celtics reached the Eastern Conference Finals and fell one win short of the NBA Finals, as they lost to LeBron James and the Cavs in Game 7.

This season, Boston finished as the No. 4 seed in the East at 49-33 and beat the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs. It is currently tied 1-1 with the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in its second-round playoff series.

#basketball, #professional

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