Well, Masked Kyrie came back this year. He has been one of many great players to wear the mask, along with Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, Rip Hamilton and former teammate LeBron James.
This year, Kyrie put on the mask after getting a facial bone broken after getting accidently hit by teammate Aron Baynes. Social media immediately erupted after finding out Kyrie would have to wear the mask for the second time in his career.
On December 14, 2012, Irving had broken his jaw bone against the Bucks. He wore the black mask on this occasion. His first game with the mask was against the Knicks. The stats? 41 points, 15-for-25 shooting (5-for-8 from 3-point), 5 assists and 5 rebounds. The Cavs still ended up losing to the Knicks by one, but for a second-year player, not too shabby. In 2012, with the mask, Kyrie would shoot 47.5 percent from the floor and 39.8 from beyond the arc, while averaging 24.5 points in total. While during the season without the mask, his numbers were 45.2 percent, 39.1 percent, and have 22.5 points per game. He played considerably better with the mask in 2012.
While Kyrie hasn’t been unstoppable with the mask this season, he produced good numbers and helped progress the Celtics win streak, and even after the streak ended, he was still giving stable numbers. He was playing with the clear mask this season, which he thought was much different than the black mask.
“The difference with the black mask is that they’re not getting the ball, because I couldn’t see. I could only see what’s in front of me. That black mask, it just takes away the vision. So I was like, ‘Oh, basket.’”
He even resulted in throwing down his mask in frustration in a game against the Nets. After the game, he told reporters, “It’s almost like having somewhat foggy blinders on. When I take off the mask, I can see everything, but when I have the mask on, I’m really dialed into what’s in front of me. My peripheral’s a little cut off.” However, none of this stopped him from scoring a team-high (at the time) 25 points.
Jaylen Brown had problems in the facial area as well. After having irritation and inflammation in the eyes, he missed one game and wore goggles for the next two games. You know? Like the ones Kareem-Abdul Jabbar wore? Yeah. He looked great. He did score 15 points. Pretty good.
Daniel Theis wore the clear mask against the Grizzlies. It looked like an ordinary game for Theis against the Grizzlies. He had a productive 14 minutes, though he had more defensive plays than anything. With 5 points, including a three, and two blocks, he was just giving what the bench needed. Also, the three and a block came in the fourth, so he did good towards the end. Brian Scalabrine made Theis’s masked plays his Miller Time Hold True Moment, so he also received quite the honor for making these plays while wearing the mask.
For the past two games, against the Heat and Pacers, Theis looked good grabbing four rebounds in both games, and then making two assists and a steal.
Theis’s game has not gone down since he started wearing his mask. He is producing good numbers in increasing minutes. He actually looks to be improving.
Theis has recently gotten his nose reset, and will get a custom mask, so look to see his numbers go up, and as he should be more comfortable now.
So, it looks like the facial accessories are going around for the Celtics. Don’t be surprised if someone ends up having to wear a cone on their head…