NBA: Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving the man to dethrone LeBron James | Other | Sport

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That is the view of Boston legend, analyst and talk show host Brian Scalabrine, AKA the White Mamba, who believes the sky’s the limit for Irving’s young team. 

Irving, a four-time All-Star who won the championship with the Cavs in 2016, quit Cleveland for the Celtics in a blockbuster trade during the offseason.

Now he’s aiming to win it all with Boston, who boast the likes of veteran big man Al Horford and rising stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum in their line-up.

They currently own the best record in the NBA despite losing All-Star forward Gordon Hayward to a season-ending injury.

But they will almost certainly have to meet Irving’s former team in the play-offs to get to the final.

And Scalabrine reckons they have a better chance than ever to beat LeBron after years of heartbreak against the man regarded by most as the world’s best player.

Irving caused a stir earlier this year by claiming he believes the Earth is flat instead of round.

But Scalabrine said: “You know the whole Flat Earth thing? You watch him play and you realise he’s from a different planet!

“His planet must be flat. I think his planet is the size of a basketball court and he dominates his planet. Because I have never ever seen a player like that…

“I’m supposed to be calling the game and being professional. But there are times when I’m on the mic laughing at the things he does.

“From an inside-out shake to a cross and the guy jumps the other way and he goes in for a lay-up, basketball is not supposed to be that easy!

“All these bums back home who watch him and think they could play in the NBA because they’ve seen Kyrie do it and they think they can do it too, they can’t do it.

“He is a special, special player. I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. Ever. That’s how special he is.

“I don’t know how close we were to LeBron before. With Gordon going down you were like: ‘Oh man we’re not going to be able to get over that hump.’

“But you see what these guys are doing… it’s going to be tough to dethrone the King – but I think it’s going to be a lot more competitive this season. We’re coming.”

With a 20-4 win/loss record, Boston leads the NBA, and Scalabrine reckons youngsters Brown and Tatum have been the biggest plus points since Hayward’s injury.

He said: “We all know Kyrie’s good and Al Horford and all these guys.

“But those two players, first of all rookie Jayson Tatum coming in and doing what he’s doing is shocking. It’s not like a young player back in the ‘90s.

“This guy was in high school two years ago and now he’s in the NBA holding his own.

“The same with Jaylen Brown. You knew he would take a step. But the step he has taken on the defensive end is astronomical.

“Ask the Golden State Warriors. Kevin Durant pulls up for a jump shot and he blocks Durant’s shot. I’ve never seen that in all Kevin Durant’s years.

“Those two guys have been really impressive defensively. Offensively they still have time to grow.

“It’s hard to say where they will be in two or three years’ time because all growth isn’t linear growth, right?

“But it’s about how you deal with failure and how much does it motivate you. And also how you deal with success. How they navigate that will tell you.

“Everyone can sit here and tell you: ‘Oh I really like this kid coming out of the draft.’ At the end of the day the separation occurs with how tough you are mentally and how far you can push yourself.

“If these guys continue to develop then they’re going to be really good.”



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