BOSTON (CBS) — Kyrie Irving was booed anytime he did anything on Friday night, his first game at TD Garden in front of Celtics fans since his unceremonious departure for Brooklyn in 2019.
Well, almost anything. Boston fans did send up a mock cheer when Irving missed his first shot of the night. And more mock cheers followed after every miss, and there were plenty of them from Irving on Friday night.
The Celtics won 125-119 thanks to a 50-point performance from Jayson Tatum, making it a 2-1 series. To make the evening even sweeter for Boston fans, Irving struggled throughout and wasn’t much of a factor for Brooklyn. He had just two points at halftime after starting 1-for-5 from the floor, and finished with just 16 points off 6-for-17 shooting.
Irving took the floor for warmups a lot later than his Brooklyn teammates, and was met with a chorus of boos from Celtics fans. Irving did not seem to mind it when he first took the court.
Kyrie arrives for warmups to a sea of boos, and waves his arms as if to say, “louder!” pic.twitter.com/w4SQRXli2T
— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) May 29, 2021
That boos grew louder when Irving was introduced ahead of the game.
Kyrie Irving introduced pic.twitter.com/Xp4AXAe4U7
— John Karalis 🇬🇷 (@RedsArmy_John) May 29, 2021
Following the Nets’ Game 2 win in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, Irving made it a point to say he didn’t want to hear any “subtle racism” from the Boston crowd when he returned to TD Garden. There were some colorful chants throughout the game when Irving was involved in the action, but nothing too aggressive from Celtics fans.
“It’s basketball. I’ve been in a few environments in my life,” Irving said after Brooklyn’s loss. “As long as there’s nothing extra, I’m cool with it.”
— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) May 29, 2021
There was another profanity-laced chant that could be heard from time to time on the TV broadcast. Overall, it was a pretty impressive showing by Celtics fans considering the Garden was filled to just 25 percent capacity. With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted in Massachusetts on Saturday, the arena will be filled to near capacity for Sunday night’s Game 4.
Irving should expect to hear a lot more boos from the Boston crowd come Sunday.