Kyrie Irving Trolls Celtics Fans After Loss: Thought It Was Gonna Be a Little Louder
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Kyrie Irving Trolls Celtics Fans After Loss: Thought It Was Gonna Be a Little Louder

There was no doubt the Boston Celtics fans at TD Garden were not exactly going to be welcoming to Kyrie Irving during Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Finals on Thursday, but the Dallas Mavericks star expected more.

“It’s basketball at the end of the day,” he told reporters following his team’s 107-89 loss. “Being in this environment, I’m used to it at this point. Earlier in my career, there was a different relationship that I had with Boston. … I thought it was gonna be a little louder in here.”

Irving may have expected it to be louder, but the Celtics fans unleashed some boos and chants in his direction.

Perhaps it would have been louder if his Mavericks ever truly threatened. Boston jumped out to a 29-point lead in the first half, slipped some in the third quarter as Dallas closed the gap to eight and then easily put things away with another run.

Irving also gave the fans more to be happy about than upset, as he was an ugly 6-of-19 from the field and was largely an afterthought with 12 points to Luka Dončić’s 30.

The eight-time All-Star returning to Boston was always going to be a subplot of this series, as he was a member of the Celtics for two seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Those teams never delivered on championship hopes, and he sat out the 2018 playoffs with injury.

It wasn’t just the lack of championships that upset Boston fans.

As Ben Golliver of the Washington Post noted, he decided to leave for the Brooklyn Nets after previously saying he was going to re-sign. What’s more, he made waves during return trips as a visitor by burning sage near the court to “cleanse the energy,” flipping his middle finger at fans and even appearing to intentionally step on the Celtics’ logo at midcourt.

Boston fans let him hear it at times Thursday and will likely attempt to be even louder during Sunday’s Game 2 since their Game 1 efforts apparently weren’t as loud as the guard expected.