Kyrie Irving: Celtics’ team meeting cleared air, sparked turnaround

Losing three straight games can force a team to look itself in the mirror. The Celtics did just that in late December and are now better off for it.

After losing to the Bucks on Dec. 21 and falling to 18-13, the Celtics had a team meeting that Kyrie Irving said addressed “some s— in this locker room.”

“At that point, playing against Milwaukee, we weren’t at rock bottom, but we needed to address some s— in this locker room. It’s just good to get stuff out in the air,” Irving said Wednesday (via ESPN.com) after a 135-108 win against the Pacers. “As grown men and guys that have expectations for themselves, it was good to hear guys talk about what they wanted for themselves and what they wanted for this team.”

Since then, Boston has won seven of nine games and hasn’t scored fewer than 111 points in a game. Irving has played well in that stretch averaging 22.7 points and 6.7 assists per game. But he missed two of those nine games — both of which Boston won behind strong outings from Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart.

“We’re making shots and we’re continuing to make each other better and making those plays that we weren’t making at the beginning of the season,” Irving said. “At this point, I feel like we’re very comfortable in what we’re running, and guys being in specific spots, and opportunities that we can take advantage of, and passes being delivered on time, and just caring about the pass and caring about your teammate making a shot.”

Now 25-15, the Celtics are fifth in the Eastern Conference and 4.5 games behind the conference-leading Bucks. Boston begins a three-game road trip Thursday at Miami.