Kyrie Irving was excited to be named on former Cleveland Cavaliers colleague LeBron James’ team for the NBA All-Star Game.
James took Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant with the first pick and selected Irving third overall, with Giannis Antetokounmpo choosing Stephen Curry in between.
Kawhi Leonard and James Harden complete the starting five for Team LeBron.
Boston Celtics point guard Irving was impressed by the line-up and is looking forward to playing alongside James again, the pair having won the championship with the Cavs in 2016.
“Oh wow, that’s a great five. I’m excited just to be an All-Star, getting picked by the fans, as well as the media. I’m truly grateful. It gives us another chance to go out there and play together,” said Irving.
“Myself, Bron, KD, Kawhi and James, it’s a pretty exciting time. But I’m not trying to plan too far ahead, so just handle these games before the All-Star break maturely, as a veteran team and close out the All-Star break pretty strong.”
Irving and James were on opposite sides as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Celtics 129-128 at TD Garden on Thursday, Rajon Rondo securing the victory with a buzzer beater against his former team.
James had a triple-double with 28 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists, while Kyle Kuzma (25 points), JaVale McGee, Rondo and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (all 17 points) made important contributions for the Lakers.
Irving said: “[James] is one of the greatest to ever play our game. He’s very detail oriented. His team definitely helped him out a lot, they made shots and took some pressure off him. He made some big shots as well, but their pieces filled in pretty well.”
The Celtics, who are 35-20 and sit fourth in the Eastern Conference, made no late moves before the trade deadline on Thursday, but their main rivals made additions.
The Milwaukee Bucks acquired Nikola Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans, the Toronto Raptors moved for Marc Gasol and the Philadelphia 76ers added Tobias Harris.
“Those are great pick-ups. I’m looking forward to going against those guys,” said Irving.
“Obviously those [teams] are the top contenders in the East so we’ll see them down the line. We have Philly coming up in the next week in Philly so that’ll be a great game.
“I’m just looking forward to the challenge of dialling in after the All-Star break and focusing on the things we want to do as a team and get better at.”
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