Boston Celtics: How clutch is Kyrie Irving?

Kyrie Irving has hit the ground running with the Boston Celtics, we take a look at what he has done in the clutch and compare him to former C’s point guard Isaiah Thomas.

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(Photo Credit: Erik Drost)

So far this season, it’s fair to say the Kyrie Irving trade to Boston has been a resounding success for the Celtics as they lead the Eastern Conference with a 19-4 record. As the time of writing, the Celtics have a 3.5 game lead of surprise packet Detroit Pistons and the expected Champions of the East in Irving’s former side Cleveland.

The Celtics are a quarter of the way through the season; we take a comparative look between former point guard Isaiah Thomas’ stats in the clutch last season and what Kyrie Irving has down so far this season. We also delve into how clutch Irving has been from last season with the Cavs to now.

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Irving and Thomas debate

As it stands, the statistical similarities in the clutch are astounding between Isaiah Thomas last year with the Celtics and now Kyrie Irving this season. Thomas was one of if not the best player in the final quarter where he averaged 10.1 points, breaking Paul Pierce’s franchise record of 7.3 points per game from the 2002/03 season.

In the clutch, Thomas was ranked second in this category in points with 5.1; only Russell Westbrook with 6.2 led the league in the clutch statistics. Thomas shot 47.8% from the field and was 40% from downtown. The former University of Washington point guard was virtually automatic from the line in the clutch shooting at 90%, with a plus/minus rating of 2.2.

Comparatively, Irving this season has been strong in the clutch for the Celtics where he averages 5.0 points shooting a strong 61.5 field goal percentage; that’s third best in this category with LeBron James (5.3) and Dion Waiters (5.3), who lead the league.

Although he shoots just 30.8% from downtown, its Irving’s ability to get into the paint and finish has the former Cavs numbers field goal percentage as high as it is.

Cavs Irving vs Celtics Irving

With Kyrie Irving having the opportunity to make plays and run the offense down the stretch, its night and day statistically from Irving with the Cavs and now with the Boston Celtics. The table below summarizes Irving’s numbers from last season in the clutch to what he has produces with the Celtics in the opening of this season.

Statistics   Irving 2016/17 Season (Cavs) Irving 2017/18 Season (Celtics)
Points 3.5 5.0
Field Goal (%) 39.8 61.5
3pt (%) 22.6 30.8
Free Throw (%) 90.2 81.3
Assists 0.5 0.8
Steals 0.1 0.2
Plus/Minus 1.5 1.9

It’s clear that Irving has shown himself to be the leader of the Celtics and with complementary players like Al Horford, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving is primed to continue his upward trend statistically overall and in the clutch.

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Is he clutch?

When you improve your individual statistics dramatically and were an integral reason that the Boston Celtics went on a 16 game win streak, you better believe the hype around Kyrie Irving being clutch.

Without LeBron James holding him back, Irving has hit another level and his ability to lead a Celtics roster that has five rookies playing meaningful minutes has helped coach Brad Stevens. Going down the stretch, you won’t find many players who are better than the Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving.

Do you think Kyrie Irving is clutch? Let us know in the comments section below.

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