Boston Celtics

When finishing his postgame interview with NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin after Tuesday’s 108-105 win over the Detroit Pistons, Celtics guard Kyrie Irving gave a shoutout to Celtics color commentator Tommy Heinsohn for getting him in shape.

Given the unlikelihood of the 84-year-old Heinsohn leading Irving through a workout in Brighton, the comments were worth investigating. As it turns out, it was after the Oct. 27 win over the Pistons, a game in which Irving scored just three points (his lowest single-game total since coming to the Celtics), that Heinsohn said that Irving looked “five pounds overweight.”

“It’s always great when someone challenges you like that. Especially with the respect level that I have for past Celtics legends,” Irving said after Tuesday’s win over the Pistons. “For him to really kind of pinpoint as me being one of the leaders on this team, the main focal point of this team, I had to be in better shape as well as challenge myself on both ends of the floor.”

Noting the work he had to put himself through to be the player and leader the Celtics need him to be if they’re to seriously contend for a championship this season, Irving was genuine with his ‘credit’ to Heinsohn following a 31-point effort that saw him roast any and every Detroit defender that dared try to guard him throughout the night.

“As a competitor, if that doesn’t irk you, itch inside you, of you wanting to be better, especially when a guy … Tommy Heinsohn, you can’t do any wrong in his eyes if you’re a Celtic. You can’t do any wrong. And I appreciate that, and it was the truth,” Irving admitted. “I had to get in better shape, and I had to become more dedicated to what I had been doing but more emphasis. So I took that. I was on the bike the next morning, Versa-climb, I was doing everything possible to make sure I could prepare my body for what’s to come for the rest of the season. It’s a long season, just wanted to get prepared.

“But I shouted him out because that was the truth, I needed it.”

No word as to whether or not Heinsohn has another pump-up critique for somebody before Thursday’s meeting with the undefeated Milwaukee Bucks.