Kyrie Irving returned to Boston with the Brooklyn Nets for Friday’s NBA playoff game, and Celtics fans had plenty of boos in store for the seven-time All-Star.
Irving was seen warming up for Game 3 of the Nets-Celtics opening-round series egging on the crowd at TD Garden to keep the jeers coming, per ESPN:
The shorthanded Celtics have little chance of digging out of a 2-0 series deficit, particularly without one of their best players in Jaylen Brown.
Boston made a strong run to lead through the first quarter by a score of 33-32. Irving missed all three of his shot attempts, including two from 3-point range, and had one rebound and two assists.
Irving had expressed some concern prior to Game 3 that fans might use racist language to insult him during the contest. After all, it’s his first game back with fans in Boston since he left the Celtics following two unsuccessful seasons with the team.
Fan behavior hasn’t exactly been exemplary throughout the NBA playoffs thus far, as multiple fan-related incidents have marred the postseason. However, at least in Irving’s case, it seemed like Celtics fans were respectful with their criticism, but certainly made themselves heard.
So at least for a little while during Game 3, Boston had its moment to make fun of Irving in a (hopefully) clean way.
That snapshot of time may be about all the Celtics have to celebrate. They’ll be hard-pressed to defeat the star-studded Nets four times in the next five outings, which is what it would take to knock out Brooklyn.