ORLANDO, Fla. -- Kyrie Irving had a lot to say about the Celtics' direction after Saturday night's 105-103 loss to the Magic.
It was clear the bench had its issues here, and Orlando took advantage when the reserves were on the floor. Terry Rozier had a tough outing, going scoreless with the C's a minus-20 with him on the court. Jaylen Brown had 13 points, but was a minus-18. Daniel Theis was a minus-16 and Gordon Hayward minus-11. Robert Williams played 2:15 and was a minus-8.
Irving seemed to zero in on the more inexperienced Celts when discussing the difference between last season and this.
"I mean, we had nothing to lose last year," Irving said. "We had nothing to lose, and everybody could play free and do whatever they wanted and nobody had any expectations. We were supposed to be at a certain point, we surpassed that. Young guys were supposed to be at a certain point, they surpassed that.
"We come into this season, expectations, and it's real. Everyone from the coaching staff to the players, it's very much real every single day, so that's new. It's tough. It's hard, you know, so I think that what we're facing now is nothing compared to being on that stage trying to get a gold trophy. It's hard now, what do you think it's going to be when we get to The Finals?
"We're trying to play for a position right now trying to get a great seed. That should be our number one goal, and that right there is a realization for me that even when I'm thinking about the future, I've got to think about how do we get there, but what steps do we need to hit. That's a goal first just getting a seed. We can't be comfortable being in fifth. I'm not comfortable in it, so now I go back and really re-work things and try to think about how I attack the next day.
"But the frustration is still inside of me. You know, I'm a competitor. You know, last play happened, let it go, and we move on. We've got one more game on this road trip (Brooklyn, tonight). It's always good to go home for me, and I'm always good to see my family. I know guys will enjoy New York, as well. It'll be good to just play in that type of environment, but Orlando deserved this win. They earned it. A few loose balls we could have gotten, you know, 50-50 basketballs. But that happens. Things that we can control we can get better at."