Kyrie Irving downplays shoulder injury, savors revenge against Knicks


BOSTON — Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving tweaked his right shoulder in the closing minutes of Thursday’s win over the New York Knicks, but downplayed concern about the injury.

Irving sprinted to the bench and could be seen grabbing at his right shoulder after coming out of the game late in the fourth quarter. Irving had a quick chat with trainer Art Horne before having his shoulder wrapped it ice.

It’s unclear if the shoulder could impact Irving’s status for Saturday’s visit to Chicago.

"It was just a weird play at the end of the game,” said Irving. "I don’t know. I got caught up as I was trying to get the ball out and pass it to Marcus for a 3, it just caught me weird on my shoulder. Probably my AC joint or something like that. I’m not diagnosing myself. I’m pretty sure I saw the doctors afterwards and it’s probably just the AC joint or something going on there, but I’ll be alright.”

Irving scored a team-high 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting and added eight assists and four rebounds over 30 minutes. Irving had expressed disappointment in the way the Celtics played in last month’s loss to the Knicks and was pleased to see a different Boston team on Thursday.

"I think I said it at the last media session we had at practice [on Wednesday], just a lot different identity,” Irving said of a Boston team that’s won four straight. "For us, just having a lot more fun, making sure we are paying attention to detail and making sure that we’re playing at a level that we all demand out of each other.”

Pressed on Boston’s new identity, Irving said, "We just had fun kicking people’s ass. We should, we really should. And it should be — competition in itself, it should bring the best out of you.”

Asked if the Celtics earned a measure of payback, Irving admitted the loss last month had left a sour taste in the team’s mouth.

"You know, I was thinking about it since we lost to them, a few teams that we owe,” said Irving. "I still remember certain players on other teams asking us what was going on with us when we were 10-10. So, yeah, keep that same energy. I want that same competition and just seeing where we end up a few games from here. But we take it one game at a time, continue to get better and take advantage of the opportunity that we have every single night that we play against the great teams in the NBA.”

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