After Sunday night's 120-107 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, Kyrie Irving gave a spirited post-game interview where he repeatedly stressed that everything starts with him and his leadership, and it's a trickle-down effect from there. If he plays with aggression and emotion, so will everyone else.
Over the course the team's current three-game win streak on the west coast, that much has become evident.
During the team's cross-country plane ride to Oakland earlier this week, something clicked. After months of constant media hullabaloo about how the team has no chemistry, that has all been seemingly patched up after just six hours in the air with nobody to talk with but each other.
In my eyes, the Celtics should just spend every second that they're not playing or practicing, in a plane. Just have them play cards and shoot the breeze all day at 30,000 feet because clearly that's what it took to bring them together. No harm in that.
Gordon Hayward; actually good again
In my last blog, I brought up a stat that the Celtics are 19-2 in games where Gordon Hayward shoots over 50% from the field. Well, bump that up to 20-2. It's amazing how much better the Celtics play when their former all-star/max contract player, actually plays like he's done those things. He's developed a great chemistry with Jaylen off the bench. The two of them provide a scoring punch that no other team can even compare to.
Brad has to be considering putting him into the starting lineup because of his elevated play and consistency, but I don't expect to see it before the playoffs. I doubt he wants to mess with the chemistry the team has right now
Marcus Smart is a three-point marksman again
Over his last five games, Smart is shooting a very respectable 54.2% from beyond the arc on 4.8 attempts per game, which shows he hits them at a high rate, even with volume.
Smart doesn't even need to be a good shooter to be an effective player because of how good he is at defense and playmaking, but if he can continue this hot-shooting in the playoffs, it makes it much harder for opposing backcourts to guard Kyrie.
Please don't lose to the Clippers again
Monday's game against the Clippers could be a classic trap game. They get on the plane for a six-hour flight home (they land around 8:00a.m in Boston) Meanwhile the Clippers are going to balls to the wall to make the playoffs.
Either way, though, the Celtics have found something on this road trip. Like Kyrie said a during one of the rough stretches this year, "Inspiration comes from the top of the mountain, and maturity comes from the valley of life.” That valley was extremely large and painful, but I think they're climbing back up the mountain now.
I don't know if that's what that metaphor means, but it sounds all right to me.