Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving was visibly upset after losing 105-103 to the Orlando Magic on Saturday. He believes things won't get better until the young core figures out what it takes to be contenders.
"The young guys don't know what it takes to be a championship-level team," Irving said, according to Yahoo Sports' Keith Smith. "What it takes every day. And if they think it's hard now, what do they think it will be like when we're trying to get to the Finals?"
In the loss to the Magic, Gordon Hayward inbounded to forward Jayson Tatum with 2.9 seconds remaining in regulation, leading to a missed game-tying opportunity. Irving was seen berating Hayward after the buzzer, as he was apparently frustrated with his decision to pass to the sophomore.
Hayward told reporters postgame that Irving wanted him to pass to veteran big man Al Horford, according to NBC Sports Boston's A. Sherrod Blakely.
On the game-deciding play, Horford popped to the top of the 3-point line, with Irving - who was standing a few feet behind half court - looking to gain a full head of steam for a chance at the final shot to either tie or win the game.
The Celtics (25-17) have been inconsistent throughout the year despite high expectations after last season's playoff success. Irving wasn't available during the postseason run that saw Boston push the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. However, the five-time All-Star is adamant the main core still lacks experience.
"There were no expectations last year. Everyone played free and easy," Irving said. "Everyone surpassed whatever they expected for themselves. This year? We all have high expectations. The players, the coaches, everyone. And that's good, but we aren't doing it yet."
The 26-year-old is averaging 22.7 points and 6.4 assists through 38 appearances.