Over the last three months Kyrie Irving has missed only three games but the Boston Celtics can’t seem to find a rhythm without their superstar point guard.
Since the start of the season, Irving has missed a game in each month due to either a scheduled rest or injury (shoulder).
Through 43 games, Irving is shooting 47 percent from the field and 39 percent from three, for an average 24 points-per-game, to go with four rebounds and five assists. And so far this season the Celtics have played 46 games and sit atop of the Eastern Conference at 34-12 (.739).
In the three games Irving missed, the Celtics are 1-2 (.333), after beating the Toronto Raptors, 95-94, on November 12 at the TD Garden, and losing to the Chicago Bulls, 108-85, on December 11 in Chi-town and the Philadelphia 76ers, 89-80, last night in Boston.
Are you ready for some quick math?
As of right now, the Celtics are averaging 102.7 points-per-game on offense.
Now when the NBA All-Star is out of the lineup, the Celtics score on average 16 less points-per-game and have lost by an average of 16 points. And in their only win, they barely held on to beat the Raptors after DeMar DeRozan missed a pair of go-ahead buckets in the final 19 seconds of the game. Now if we add in Irving’s 24-point average, we “should’ve” won those games, right?
So what does that mean?
When the C’s are rolling Kyrie-less, they tend to underperform and fail to consistently score as a team.
The Celtics as a team are shooting 45 percent from the field and 37 percent from three, but the totals drastically drop in each game without Irving.
In the games without him, the Celtics’ field-goal percentage drops an average of five percent and their three-point percentage drops an average of almost eight percent. Yet individually, Irving only shoots two percent better in both categories than the team. So the math isn’t adding up at this juncture and that falls on the players in game that aren’t stepping up in his absence.
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Sure in the C’s win over the Raptors, guys like Al Horford, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier III stepped up and played fairly well. But in their losses, guys like Jayson Tatum, Aron Baynes and Rozier were out to lunch.
If the Celtics were to ever lose Irving for an extended period of time, they would be heading down the Charles in a sinking kayak without paddles and could possibly end up on the outside looking in.
— By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com