At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what he just said.
After scoring nine of his 36 points and assisting on a pair of 3-pointers to account for 15 of the Boston Celtics’ last 18 points over the final 6:21 of a 108-97 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, Irving was asked about his mindset in the fourth quarter, and he gave the response you might expect from a beautiful mind that once informed us, “Now there is a certain aspect of life in which I want to tell people about, which is this true journey of really becoming a complete individual and total freedom of thought.”
The money quote, via MassLive.com’s Jay King:
“I was just fortunate enough that my mind works a lot quicker than other people in the fourth quarter. So it just gets me going a little bit. And especially when it’s a close game, there’s just nothing like it. NBA, every crowd’s going, whether home or away — there’s just nothing better. I love playing in those type of situations.”
After all, Irving is the NBA’s leading scorer in the clutch (score within five points in the last five minutes), netting 65 points (on 61.5 percent shooting) in just 42 clutch minutes, which is like matching Michael Jordan’s highest-scoring game, only while playing every second with the game on the line. He’s also the league’s second-leading playmaker in the clutch, as his 10 assists over the same 42 minutes trail New Orleans Pelicans point guard Jrue Holiday’s league-leading total by just one.
You might think Irving’s extraordinary dribbling and shotmaking abilities play more important roles in his fourth-quarter dominance, but who can argue with the man who did this to win the 2016 Finals:
You know who has played the most clutch minutes without scoring a single point this season? Utah Jazz wing Joe Ingles. Get your mind right, bro. Or maybe that’s just the best evidence Kyrie’s brilliance in the fourth quarter is a combination of his quick-thinking combined with his incredible talent.
Seriously, though, before you cast aside that bit about his mind working quicker than other people in the clutch as more of the same from the guy who introduced us to modern flat-Earth conspiracy theories and the idea that movie aliens are based on real aliens, this really does make a lot of sense:
“You know that you’re going to get the team’s best shot on the other end, they’re going to do things that they probably wanted to adjust to throughout the game, so a lot of the opportunities that were afforded in the first three quarters probably won’t be there in the fourth quarter. So you have to make very, very quick decisions in terms of what you’re going to do with the basketball and where guys need to be on the floor. And when you’re playing like that, some guys think a lot quicker than others.”
And for now, at least, nobody in the NBA is thinking quicker than Kyrie Irving. What a flat world.
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