The Celtics wrapped up a dominant home stand on Wednesday night with a 135-108 win over Indiana, capping off a four-game stretch in which they outscored their opponents by over 20 points per game. Boston has now won seven of nine games since a home loss to Milwaukee on December 21, and Kyrie Irving points to the team meeting that took place after that game a turning point for the C’s, as Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com details.
“At that point, playing against Milwaukee, we weren’t at rock bottom, but we needed to address some s— in this locker room,” Irving said. “It’s just good to get stuff out in the air. As grown men and guys that have expectations for themselves, it was good to hear guys talk about what they wanted for themselves and what they wanted for this team.”
It has been a somewhat inconsistent first half for the Celtics, who were viewed as the Eastern Conference frontrunners entering the season. The club played just .500 ball in its first 20 games and had a couple more bad losses after that. But as the C’s reach the midpoint of their schedule, they’re back on pace for 50+ wins, and Irving believes they’re starting to hit their stride.
“Everything we talked about at the beginning of the season, I feel like it’s translating now as we continue to get to know one another,” he said. “Meat of the season right now and you can tell that our team is just feeling really good being around each other. And it’s totally different in terms of how we feel out there. It’s just really positive. And when I don’t have to go out there and score 30 it’s cool with me. I probably won’t have to score 30 for us until we play one of the best teams in the league — or, if any — until the playoffs. So I’m happy about that.”
Here’s more out of Boston:
- Former first-round pick R.J. Hunter, who agreed to a two-way contract with the Celtics, called it a “crazy feeling” to return to his original team two and a half years after being waived, as Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe tweets. “R.J. wants to show the people of Boston they made the right decision when the Celtics drafted him,” agent Mark Bartelstein said, per Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link). “He turned down all kinds of offers from overseas to make his way back to the NBA. I have so much respect for him.”
- Al Horford, who missed time with a knee injury in December, figures to remain on a minutes restriction for the foreseeable future, writes Taylor Snow of Celtics.com. After initially looking to limit him to around 25 minutes per game, the Celtics are now willing to go up to 27-28 MPG for Horford, Snow notes.
- In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Kevin Pelton explores how valuable the Celtics’ four 2019 first-round picks might end up being. Pelton believes that if Boston makes a play for Anthony Davis during the coming offseason, the team’s young players will likely be more valuable trade chips than those draft picks.