Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving embraced the Boston Celtics after their game on Thursday as he hugged his former teammates. Irving, who left the Celtics in the summer of 2019, once said he wanted to retire as a Celtic and there were rumors that his split from Boston was ugly.
"Big surprise to a lot of people," Irving said, per ESPN. "All that s--- talking about me and all the relationships I have with every former teammate of mine." The Nets currently own a 25-13 record and they sit at No.
2 on the Eastern Conference standings. Irving is having a huge season and he is waiting for the playoffs to lift his game to another level and hopefully lead the Nets to the NBA title. "I'm just waiting for the main stage," Irving said.
"Playing in front of millions of people and it actually mattering in terms of win or lose or go home. I'm looking forward to that, but games like this in the middle of the season against guys that you know well, that's always a blessing."
Irving praised by James Harden
Irving dropped 40 points in a 121-109 win over the Celtics on Thursday night. "He's a different breed," Harden said of Irving. "He has that killer mentality in a sense of, no matter who we play or where we're playing, he is going to go out there and try to destroy the opponent, and that's something that you'd want on your team at all times.
That mentality is what sets him apart from a lot of guys in this league." Meanwhile, New Orleans Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy blasted his team's defensive effort after a 135-105 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolwes.
"Look, I understand it's on me and what we're putting out there defensively is embarrassing, quite honestly," Van Gundy said. "We've all got to take ownership of it. A lot of it is me and a lot of it is our players, and they've got to take some ownership.
We didn't compete tonight, and that's the bottom line. "We didn't compete. We didn't help each other. We didn't play together on either end of the floor. A really embarrassing evening for us tonight. "We didn't shoot the ball well and, quite honestly, we're so bad defensively, we can't have a bad offensive night.
We can't even have a mediocre night. If we have a bad offensive night, we'll get crushed like we did tonight."