By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics franchise has been the ire of the Nets for the last handful of years, turning the collection of draft picks that Brooklyn sent their way for an aging Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett into the likes of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kyrie Irving. That 2014 heist turned the Celtics into a supposed powerhouse in the East, though that has come into question this season as Boston has struggled to live up to their preseason hype.
Those struggles continued Monday night in Brooklyn, as the Celtics suffered an embarrassing 109-102 defeat to complete an 0-3 road trip. Boston trailed by as many as 27 points before a furious run by Tatum and Brown got them within seven late in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late for this exasperating Celtics team.
With their team leading by as much as 30 points early in the fourth quarter, Brooklyn fans had some fun with the Celtics, rubbing some salt in Boston’s wounds with a loud and energetic “Kyrie’s Leaving!” chant. It was more effort than any Celtics player had displayed at that point.
Well done, Nets fans. Kyrie’s future has been a fairly hot topic this season, despite the point guard saying ahead of the campaign that he intends to re-up with Boston after the season. Speculation has been wild that Irving, a New Jersey native, would like to play in the Big Apple, though most of the rumors involve him going to the Knicks. Clearly, Nets fans would like him to consider the younger brother of New York basketball.
Irving did not play Monday night with a right quad injury and got to soak in the loss — and the chant — from the Boston bench. Further fueling speculation that he would bolt Boston were some pretty critical comments about the young Boston team following their disappointing loss in Orlando on Saturday night, which led to Irving saying he wouldn’t question his teammates in public again following Monday’s morning shoot around.
With their loss in Brooklyn, the Celtics are now firmly entrenched in the fifth-seed in the Eastern Conference, seven games behind the Toronto Raptors. Irving is expected to be back in the Boston lineup when they host Toronto at TD Garden on Wednesday night.