Kyrie Irving told reporters the Boston Celtics were due for a slip-up after their 16-game winning streak was snapped with a 104-98 loss to the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on Wednesday night.
"There's still a lot to accomplish going forward," Irving said, according to ESPN's Israel Gutierrez. "It was a nice streak. But it was time to come to an end."
The loss, which was the Celtics' first in 35 days, came two nights after Boston erased a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Dallas Mavericks and captured a 110-102 overtime win thanks to Irving's 47-point outing.
But unlike Monday's effort, Irving struggled against a stout Heat defense.
In 33 minutes, Boston's floor general managed 23 points on 11-of-22 shooting, including misses on all three of his attempts from beyond the arc. Irving was also uncharacteristically shaky at the charity stripe and made one of his four free throws.
The loss aside, the Celtics proved over the past five weeks that they will be a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference.
In the process of rattling off wins over the likes of the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks and Oklahoma City Thunder, among others, the Celtics throttled their way up the efficiency charts and now own the league's No. 1 defensive rating (96.4) and No. 3 net rating (6.5).
On an individual level, Irving has emerged as a legitimate MVP candidate thanks to his improved defense and an arsenal of scoring and distributive tricks that have buoyed the Celtics' offense.
Now sitting at 16-3 on the season, the Celtics will look to get back in the win column Friday when they host the Orlando Magic at TD Garden.
Stats courtesy of NBA.com.