Kyrie Irving has urged teammate Gordon Hayward to release the “a—” in him as the Celtics look to get the best out of the former NBA All-Star.
Hayward, who shares a birthday with Irving, albeit two years apart, received a pep talk from his younger colleague at a recent practice session.
Irving encouraged Hayward to get back to his aggressive best and the small forward responded with 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting as the Celtics blew out the Cavaliers 128-95 on Friday.
And, after a resounding win over his former franchise, Irving pointed to similarities between himself and Hayward.
“We’re born on the same day,” said Irving, who finished with 29 points. “I don’t know if you believe in astrology or anything like that, we have some personality things that we’re aligned with and I think he has that ticker inside of him.
“I remember [Irving’s former Duke] coach [Mike Krzyzewski] telling me, you know, Gordon has a little bit of a— in him. And he needs that.
“That toughness where he starts turning red and he starts getting into the basketball, getting out in transition and dunking the basketball and start doing those things.
Marcus Morris: 15 PTS
Gordon Hayward: 14 PTS, 4 AST pic.twitter.com/qm6KUIQFlC
— NBA (@NBA) December 1, 2018
“You know, that’s the Gordon we’re used to seeing and I’m just going to continue to give him that confidence as well as just let him be a veteran in this league and figure it out.
“So I’m just proud of him, I’m proud of the steps he’s making.”