Unless you've turned off all social channels, you already know that the leader of the Boston Celtics -- superstar point guard Kyrie Irving -- is out for the playoffs. You may even know that Marcus Smart has missed 17+ straight games (although could come back soon); our resident uber-big man from Deutschland Daniel Theis is out with a meniscus tear and Gordon Hayward, well, you all know about that.
So what do a bunch of youngsters -- particularly young gun Jayson Tatum and resident made-of-granite-versatile-defender Semi Ojeleye -- need upon entering their first playoffs? Advice from their uncle, of course.
Fact is, the Celtics need "Uncle Drew"* (insert Captain Obvious commercial here). But what most may not know is that Kyrie is still racking up a few assists -- from the bench.
Rozier says Kyrie texted the entire team before Game 2 to warn that as a series progresses, chippiness increases. He was right. Time to find out what Game 3 has to offer in that regard tomorrow night.
Pre-game texts. Because that's what leaders do -- they show the way in their actions and in their words. And since Kyrie's knee won't allow his actions to speak for him, his words absolutely can. And they have.
Kyrie also knows the playoffs are, to put it simply, different.
Yes, the court is still 94-feet long. The hoop is 10-feet off the ground. The ball is still round. And the objective is as it's been for decades: score and don't let your opponent score.
But something changes come playoff time. The atmosphere. The pressure. The intensity. All of it. One missed FT or one careless pass in the first quarter can end up biting you in the ass come fourth quarter.
In short, every single possession matters. Not that each possession doesn't matter in the regular season, but there's just something about the playoffs. I'm sure part of that is knowing that, any any moment, you're only four games away from going home for good.
Kyrie's words have particularly assisted his current backup/starting-in-his-place-but-way-too-good-to-be-a-backup, Terry Rozier III. Terry (aka Tito, aka Tito Three Sticks, aka Drew Bledsoe's Big Brother) stated in so many words that Kyrie is still leading the team from the bench.
Terry Rozier on Kyrie Irving's leadership from afar: "He’s here with us. His spirit is here. He’s still part of this team. He’s still our leader.” pic.twitter.com/O6cpNtpECf
With approximately six hours until Game 3 tips off in Milwaukee, one wonders if Kyrie will again send another text. Only time will tell. But one thing is for certain: if the Celtics bring their Game 1 & Game 2 grit and intensity with them to the state of Wisconsin, Kyrie won't have to send along motivation, but rather congratulations.
And if this stat continues for the series, it should be smooth sailing until next round's matchup.
Boston’s starting back court of Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown has combined to outscore Milwaukee’s starting back court, 96-25, through two games this series
*note for Eric Bledsoe. In case you say "who?" to "Uncle Drew," that's Kyrie Irving's moniker. A movie with the same name is coming out this Summer. You should check it out.
Follow Edward Babaian on Twitter: @bojixbabaian