Three Takeaways from the Celtics Win Over the Nets

Boston Celtics (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /
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Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Team basketball

After Kyrie Irving suffered injuries to his eyes chasing after an offensive rebound in San Antonio, Terry Rozier III was given the start and the Celtics would have to recall the ways they found success last year when Irving was on the sideline — team basketball.

In the games Irving missed, the Celtics moved the ball without the ball sticking in any player’s hands for too long and set a season-high with 35 assists.

Irving is an offensive superstar (and an evolving defensive player) and those type of elite players can sometimes excessively dominate possessions by trying to control the game on their terms, so the question was whether or not the Celtics could play a team oriented style of basketball with Irving back.

Even Celtics’ head coach Brad Stevens noted that the Celtics struggled to score on possessions where the ball stuck in a player’s hand for more than two seconds, so the pressure was certainly on for the Celtics not only to produce, but also for Kyrie to show that he can play the style of basketball that is most conducive to this Celtics team winning basketball games.

Early on, Irving answered those questions by playing within the offense while simultaneously dominating when he had the basketball in his hands.

Whether it was making quick passes to give the Celtics shooters time to line up their shots or, taking over offensively, Irving’s return did nothing but make the Celtics even more dangerous when they play together as a team instead of trying to dominate teams with isolation plays.

Just take a look at how Irving tells the Celtics bench that he’s just not big enough after he swishes the sweet baseline shot.

Irving finished the game with 17 points, 6 assists and 3 steals in 28 minutes of action.

But more importantly, the Celtics won and set another season-high in assists with 37 assists!

The Celtics will need Irving to continue to play within the constraints of the team but also be ready to be dominant when called upon to get the team out of offensive ruts.