Boston fans don’t get to Irving, Celtics’ defense does.
BOSTON (AP) — Kyrie Irving behaved himself.
He just didn’t play very well.
One day after he was fined for cursing at Boston fans and giving them the finger, the Nets point guard managed just 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting Wednesday night in Brooklyn’s 114-107 loss to the Celtics.
Irving and Kevin Durant combined to make 1 of 17 shots in the second half, when the Nets blew what had been a 17-point lead to fall behind 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.
“It’s no time for me to look at my individual stats,” said Irving, who scored 39 points in Game 1. “We don’t really have time to be disappointed, to hold our heads. This is part of playoff basketball.”
A seven-time All-Star who spent two years with the Celtics, Irving earned the enmity of the Boston fans when he vowed to finish his career in green — only to opt out of his contract and become a free agent.
During his three seasons in Brooklyn, he has been the most hated opponent at the TD Garden; after a Celtics loss in the playoffs last year, a fan threw a water bottle at him as he left the court.
But it was Irving who crossed the line on Sunday, when he flashed an obscene gesture and tossed some obscene language at Boston fans who were riding him. The NBA fined him $50,000.
On Wednesday, Irving received the reception he is accustomed to. He was jeered during introductions, and the boos when he received the opening tip only stopped to make way for a more vulgar chant.
But unlike Game 1, when he was the leading scorer in what would have been a Nets victory if not for Jayson Tatum’s buzzer-beating layup, Irving struggled on Wednesday night.
The former Celtic and Cavalier shot 1 for 7 in the second half; it was the fifth time in 72 career postseason games he has failed to score at least 11 points.
“We just didn’t have a great shooting half in the second half,” Nets coach Steve Nash said. “I wouldn’t want to single out Kyrie. He had 39 last time out. He can’t get 39 every night.”
Durant also struggled, shooting 4 of 17 and missing all 10 shots he took in the second half. He finished with 27 points — thanks to 18 of 20 from the free throw line; in last year’s playoffs he averaged 42 points following a loss.
Durant also had committed a game-high six turnovers.
“I’m going to turn the ball over and I’m going to shoot the ball a lot in the playoffs. I’m going to be aggressive throughout this series,” he said. “They’re doing a good job trying to cut off my scoring, limit my shot-making. They’re doing a good job. It’s on me to figure it out.”