Kyrie Irving is no stranger to playing against the Golden State Warriors, as the point guard is coming off of three consecutive NBA Finals against the defending champions. But Thursday night will mark the first time he faces his former foes as a Celtic.
On their home court, Boston will look to extend its current stretch of 13 straight wins against Steve Kerr and company, who are riding a seven-game spell of their own.
“It’s definitely an incredible streak we’re on, and now comes the whole media frenzy of ‘Will the streak end? What’s going to happen on Thursday when the Golden State Warriors come into Boston?’ So I’m looking forward to all that hoopla,” Irving told reporters after the Celtics’ win over the Nets on Tuesday night.
“But for us, it’s just another game for us to continuously get better and a test for us to really stay together and show our resilience, show what we’re really made of,” he continued. “That’s something that a competitor must be part of. I know we have some true competitors on this team.”
Irving identified the Warriors strengths to be “running for three-point shots, having the ability to drive the basketball, [and making] the extra pass.” He called attention to their double-digit number of games with 30-plus assists, lauding their ability to move basketball and “selfless” approach.
As how he plans handle the challenge?
“I think a lot of teams — when you watch them on film — they get into this whole matchup, ‘I gotta go right back at them,'” he said. “You come in patient. A team like that is championship-caliber, you gotta stay patient, understand what our game plan is, and really dial into. Then see what the outcome is at the end of the game.”
The 25-year-old understands, however, that the Thursday’s contest is just one piece of the puzzle in the Celtics’ larger mission.
“For us, we’re trying to accomplish something bigger than ourselves and win a championship. It’s a long road ahead,” Irving said. “We’re a newly bonded team.”