It was a long day that began with a number of Kyrie Irving comments causing a stir amongst NBA media at Boston Celtics' shootaround.
Kyrie Irving is putting off decisions on his future until this summer.- NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 1, 2019
(📍 @MyStraightTalk ) pic.twitter.com/2SdzNzwltV
Along with his "July 1st" comment, Irving also mentioned that he acknowledges the New York Knicks "positioning themselves for this summer and respects the organization," but that "obviously Boston's still at the head of that race," per Jay King of The Athletic.
Several hours later, a basketball game was played at Madison Square Garden and Knicks fans gave the soon-to-be free agent a warm welcome. They applauded him during introductions, cheered every time he touched the ball in the first quarter and even had a "we want Kyrie" chant break out during the third quarter.
Irving went on to score a game-high 23 points to go with 10 rebounds and six assists, leading his team in each category in the 113-99 victory.
Kyrie always find a way to get the ball to fall 😯 pic.twitter.com/zX2hg63RiZ- Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 2, 2019
It was a game that was closer than expected with the Knicks missing a majority of their new roster following the Kristaps Porzingis trade that transpired on Thursday.
Damyean Dotson led New York with 22 points while rookie Kevin Knox scored 21 to keep things close.
It was a balanced scoring attack for the Celtics, who had six players score in double figures. Marcus Morris was next in line after Irving with 18 points, Gordon Hayward had 14 points and Al Horford played terrifically in all facets of the game with 14 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a block.
Boston has now won three in a row and eight of their last nine. They are 33-19, five games back from the first place Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference standings.
As for the Knicks, they hold the worst record in the NBA at 10-41.