BOSTON (CBS) — As Kyrie Irving was putting the finishing touches on another spectacular night for the Celtics, the guard was showered with MVP chants from Boston fans.
It’s become a common occurrence this season, with Thursday night’s 36-point showing just the latest installment in a stellar start to Irving’s Celtics career. He dazzled again with his full array of shots on display in Boston’s 108-97 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, efficiently hitting 12 of his 21 shots, including five of eight from downtown.
Nothing gets the Boston fans going like one of Irving’s ridiculous driving layups, except maybe a three-pointer that barely touches anything on its way through the hoop. Irving said the MVP chants he’s been serenaded with have been “cool,” and there is nothing like the Boston crowd once it gets going.
“Even when I was here as an opponent, it was unbelievable. They’re true fans of seeing great basketball, especially Boston Celtics basketball,” Irving said following Thursday’s win, Boston’s 19th of the season. “They love seeing hustle plays, they love seeing dunks, threes, some tough and-1s; tough plays that have been echoed throughout the organization for a long time. They love seeing that type of play and I love being a part of it.”
Irving did his damage in 32 minutes of play, casually scoring 20 of those 36 points in 17 first half minutes. He shot at least 50 percent from the floor for the sixth time in his last seven games, making things look far too easy throughout the win.
“I say all the time how spoiled we are to coach players at this level, and he’s certainly one of the most gifted scorers in the game,” Brad Stevens said of Irving. “He can do things just with a tiny amount of space and make it look easy. And it’s really, really tough.”
Celtics forward Al Horford, who stuffed the stat sheet with 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists on Thursday night, knows the Celtics are in a unique situation with such a gifted superstar who can hit just about anything from anywhere, often at the most important times.
“It’s a luxury,” said Horford. “Not a lot of teams have that. Just his will to win and make those shots, when we need it most, just keeps impressing me game by game.”
Thursday night was the fifth time Irving has hit the 30-point mark for the C’s, with Boston 5-0 in those games.