Beyond the usual excitement that comes with the annual NBA Trade Deadline, Thursday had added intrigue because of the All-Star Game Draft and longtime rivals Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics meeting for the first time this season.
Hours before either team stepped on the court at the TD Garden, they were intertwined in Anthony Davis trade rumors for the better part of the past week. As the Lakers made a push to acquire Davis before the deadline, the Celtics reportedly implored the New Orleans Pelicans to stand pat.
Doing so would allow Boston — and other teams — to become involved in an potential Davis trade during the offseason. The Celtics’ expected pursuit of Davis is somewhat hinged to the future of Kyrie Irving.
Months after verbally committing to re-signing with the Celtics come July, Irving recently waffled on the stance. That came on the heels of rumblings he had interest in reuniting with LeBron James.
After his first look at the James-led Lakers, Irving offered praise of Brandon Ingram and the team’s defense for making matters difficult for him, via Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:
Kyrie: "Being guarded by Brandon Ingram most of the game, I can’t even lie to you guys, those guys on the defensive end are unusual. Driving lanes that I see against every other team, they were closing down the lane."
— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) February 8, 2019
Irving’s remarks were similar to praise Lakers head coach Luke Walton heaped on Ingram, noting the third-year forward impacted the game defensively even as he struggled on offense.
The compliment Irving paid to Ingram and the Lakers is supported by his 6-for-21 shooting night from the floor. He finished with team-high 24 points, largely behind converting all 10 free throw attempts.
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