Danny Ainge made one thing clear Thursday morning when he joined Toucher & Rich: he thinks the suggestion that the Celtics are better without Kyrie Irving is “insane.”
Rich pointed out to Ainge that the Celtics have a better regular season winning percentage without Irving than with him, but Ainge dismissed those stats due to what he said was a small sample size.
“[Those stats don’t] really mean anything,” Ainge said. “If you watched the [Portland] game last night, he was the only guy who could make a shot.”
When asked how much blame should be placed on head coach Brad Stevens for the team’s struggles, Ainge said everybody in the organization deserves blame.
“I think everybody has some fault. We all are to blame, from the top all the way down…there’s blame to be passed around.”
“I think that the expectations were probably a little too high for this team this year, especially coming out of the gate,” Ainge said. “Our team has not been able to find any sort of rhythm consistently. We’ve had some great runs, and when we’ve played on all cylinders you can see the talent that is there, but it hasn’t connected consistently.”
The Celtics have lost four straight games coming out of the All-Star break, and Ainge was critical of his team’s ability to bounce back from poor stretches of play.
“We lack that resolve…I don’t know if we’ve had enough resolve to fight through those types of 22-2 runs. That was disappointing in the Toronto game. I just didn’t feel like we had the fight to get out of that hole once we got in it.”
“It was an ugly performance by us,” Ainge said of Tuesday’s loss in Toronto. “We just struggled defensively and offensively, turning the ball over, you just want to make sure that those kind of games don’t lead to three or four games like that.”
Ainge also dismissed the suggestion that his conversation with Kyrie Irving in the locker room after Tuesday night’s loss to Toronto was anything out of the ordinary.
You can listen to the full interview here (starts at 8:45 in the audio file):