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Kyrie Irving told the world a few weeks ago he just wanted to play basketball at a high level and not bother with the media.
Saturday night, the All-Star point guard of the Boston Celtics appeared to take a shot at Celtics coach Brad Stevens… through the media.
After Charlotte Hornets All-Star point guard Kemba Walker torched Boston for 18 of his game-high 36 points in the fourth quarter to lead Charlotte back from an 18-point deficit with 8:22 to play for a 112-94 victory, Irving was asked how difficult it is to stop Walker.
“It’s one-on-one, pride, he responded.
The Hornets’ 30-5 run, which included all 18 of Walkers’ fourth-quarter points, caught Irving’s attention.
“Down the stretch, try to come in and help as much as possible. We should have probably trapped him a little bit more, like every team does in the league,” Irving said. “But we didn’t.
“Torches us every time we play him. So it’s no surprise.”
In handing Boston its third straight defeat, Charlotte scored on 12 of its final 19 possessions in the game. Walker’s two free throws with 5.9 seconds to play sealed the deal.
Conversely, the Celtics scored on only two of their final 20 possessions.
“Obviously, when you lose an 18-point lead, there is a lot of things that go wrong,” Stevens said. “I thought they did a good job of chipping away at it. [And] we did everything that the book is written on to lose a game that you are up 18 at that point.”
Irving said the game was lost at the start of the fourth quarter, not the end for the Celtics (43-30).
“This game was over in the beginning of the fourth quarter,” Irving said. “We took our foot off the gas pedal, got it to a five-point game and momentum shifted from there.”