Kyrie Irving: Slumping Celtics will be fine
With a 111-103 loss at home to the Washington Wizards on Christmas Day, the Boston Celtics are on a 5-6 run over their last 11 games.
It is a drop into mediocrity from the 16-game winning streak that had Boston talking of the title during the first quarter of the NBA season.
As the Cleveland Cavaliers (24-10) have found their groove with Isaiah Thomas due on the court soon, and the Toronto Raptors still sport single-digit losses (23-8), pro basketball observers are starting to doubt the Celtics' (27-10) long-term prospects.
Kyrie Irving, though, wants to ease the minds of Celtics fans.
Asked whether the loss to Washington was one of the most disappointing of the season, Irving responded: "I don't know, man. Come on, man. Is that because it was Christmas?"
"You been watching our games?" Irving asked of the reporter. "It happens."
Pressed about what has changed from the team that won 16 in a row, Irving added: "I just want to be clear, guys, I know this is gonna come with a lot of questions about the difference in our team and stuff like that, but to clear it all up, we'll be fine.
"Things happen within an NBA season where you have to collect yourself, and as professionals, it's our job."
Irving vowed to help Boston through this mid-season slump, just something he feels is expected of a "young, developing team".
"As one of the leaders on the team, it's my job to be unwavering in my approach," he said.
"Preparation is still the same. Obviously there are some things out there that we need to become better at - offensive rebounding, making sure that we're sticking the gameplan.
"It hasn't been one of the best stretches for us, but we have a resilient group and that is enough for us to continue to go on and make progress in the right direction."
To Irving's point, we are not yet even at the All-Star break, so there is plenty of time for the Celtics to get back on the right track. They are back in action away to the Charlotte Hornets (12-21) on Wednesday.