As most of his appearances at TD Garden since the end of his Celtics tenure have turned out, Boston Celtics fans met Kyrie Irving with heavy boos and heckles during Game 1 of the first-round playoff series between the Nets and Celtics on Sunday. Throughout the game, Irving not only took the fanfare but also gave it back as well, mimicking fans and gesturing to the crowd.
Kyrie messing around with the heckling Celtics fans 😅 pic.twitter.com/DViIXTIYH0 — SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 17, 2022
With LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, who endured being in the news in the regular season out of the scene, coupled with the success of the two No. 1 seeds, Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat in the two respective conferences not newsy enough, the post-season needed a storyline to run with; Kyrie took the baton and is running with it. Stirring the Hornet’s Nest Game 1 between the Nets and Celtics had it all – it was a game of runs and it had plenty of star power from the likes of Kyrie, Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The encounter lived up to it’s pre-series storylines and ended on a buzzer-beating finish. Still, Kyrie managed to raise that up 10 fold throughout the game. Going back and forth both with the fans and the Celtics on the court, Kyrie quickly became the most hated man in Boston on Sunday afternoon.
He was what sport talk shows opened up the week with and has become the biggest talking point as a result of his antics from last weekend, and the NBA has to be thrilled with how viral Game 1 was between Brooklyn and Boston. Fined for Flipping on Boston Fans Earlier on Tuesday, he got slammed with a $50,000 fine for responding to the vitriol and profanity he got from the Celtics fans by giving them the finger. His Nets teammates understood the former, and fully backed the latter. After pouring in a game-high 39 points in the 115-114 Nets loss, and speaking in the aftermath about embracing “the Dark Side,” Kevin Durant was asked if he thought Irving relished playing the villain. “Everybody has different moods. Some days he might be up for it, some days he might not. He understands what his job entails. We understand what the situation is,” Durant said. “He might not be in the mood for it the next game. Who knows? It’s just a feel thing. You never know what may trigger you in the moment.
Kevin Durant on Celtics fans’ hostility toward Kyrie Irving: “It’s rooted in love. They once loved you…had life altering experiences coming to games watching you play. So when it gets ripped from them in a trade…it feels like a piece of them is gone too.” pic.twitter.com/P1b6jNnrDq — Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) April 19, 2022
Kyrie may be a complicated man, but he just injected the NBA Playoffs with the right amount of intrigue that it needed. Moving on, the association and fans alike would hope that the first-round NBA Playoff series between the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics lives up to its Game 1 hype, as Kyrie is up for whatever it takes.