Kyrie mired in career worst 3-game playoff slump

Thursday, 09 May, 2019

Celtics guard Marcus Smart will make his return in Game 4 of Boston's Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Milwaukee Bucks Monday night at TD Garden. See ya. After getting blitzed from beyond the three-point line the last two games, the Celtics decided to make it easy on the Bucks in Game 4.

"Whoever we have on the floor, it's not like, 'Oh, damn, we're stuck with these guys, '" Lopez said.

For all intents and purposes that is true, yet the symbolism was striking for the free agent-to-be.

The Boston Celtics may have gotten to a place where they wouldn't mind seeing Kyrie Irving depart this offseason.

He certainly wasn't Monday.

The Milwaukee Bucks went more than 30 years in between playoff wins in Boston. He said he should have done better to limit turnovers and mistakes, but as for shooting, he thinks he should have shot 30 times. Kyrie Irving is saying interesting things to the press and appears to have one foot out the door. "It felt fine. Like I said, we'll see how today goes and check it out tomorrow". From an 11-4 team in January to a 5-6 team heading into the All-Star Break in February, I had no idea where this team was heading, nor could I confidently stick by a cemented prediction regarding them heading down the line and towards the end of the season.

"I'm still trying to do it all".

Of the game, and the series. He didn't come across as angry, bitter or frustrated. He made the trade demand that saw him sent from Cleveland to Boston in the summer of 2017 because he wanted out from a roster dominated by LeBron James, and he wanted to be the leading man for a budding young team in need of an elite offensive hub.

He referenced it not as a work-in-progress, but as a fatal flaw. "That's just basketball 101", he said.

Irving claimed his confidence remains "unwavering" despite the 3-1 deficit.

Then the Bucks proceeded to answer that question affirmatively - and in the most emphatic way possible.

Smart is among Boston's most valuable players and is arguably one of the most impactful defenders in the National Basketball Association.

The Boston Celtics had many chances to make this series competitive or even take control of it, and they've lost the last three games by an average of 13.3 points while getting nothing from Kyrie offensively. They have not reached the East finals since the '01 team of Ray Allen and Glenn Robinson fell to Philadelphia's Allen Iverson and Dikembe Motumbo in seven games.