BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Celtics opened their doors to capacity just in time for local fans to laugh…
BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Celtics opened at full capacity just in time for home fans to laugh and swear – and worse – at Kyrie Irving every time he touches the ball.
It might have been their last chance.
Irving tallied 39 points and 11 rebounds to calm the first post-pandemic full house at TD Garden, and Kevin Durant scored 42 points to give the Brooklyn Nets a 141-126 victory over Boston on Sunday night and a 3-1 lead in the first round playoffs.
As Irving left the field, he was almost hit by a bottle thrown from the stands. The TV show showed Irving and Nets goaltender Tyler Johnson peering into the stands and pointing; The social media video appeared to show police handcuffing a man in a Kevin Garnett jersey.
“Fans have to grow up at some point,” Durant said. “I know being home for a year and a half… stresses people out, but when you come to these games you have to realize that these men are human. We are not animals. We are not in the circus.
“You don’t come to the game as a fan,” Durant said. “Grow the (expletive) and enjoy the game. It’s bigger than you.
The incident mirrored one in which a Philadelphia fan threw popcorn at Wizards star Russell Westbrook. The Sixers have banned him from their games indefinitely.
Irving said he didn’t think banning or even arresting unruly fans would be enough to solve the problem, attributing it to “underlying racism and treating people like they’re in a human zoo. “.
“People feel very empowered here,” said Irving, who played for the Celtics from 2017-19 and said last week that he suffered from racism while in town.
“As a black man playing in the NBA, taking care of a lot of things, it’s pretty difficult. You never know what’s going to happen, ”he said. “It is simply unacceptable that this kind of thing is happening. But we are moving forward. “
A Celtics spokeswoman and a TD Garden spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
James Harden added 23 points and 18 playoff assists for Brooklyn. Game 5 takes place in New York on Tuesday night, when the Nets try to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals for the first time since 2014.
The 104 points scored by Durant, Irving and Harden tied a three-team NBA playoff record set by Boston’s John Havlicek, Jo Jo White and Dave Cowens in 1973 and tied in 1986 by Dominique Wilkins, Randy Whitman and Spud Webb.
Brooklyn coach Steve Nash said he wasn’t surprised Irving rebounded after scoring 16 points on a 6-for-17 shot in Game 3’s loss on Friday.
“It’s Kyrie Irving. He didn’t have a good game last time. My money is on him anytime after a performance he’s had, ”Nash said. “I loved his willpower, to put up with some of that adversity and to play a good game.”
Jayson Tatum scored 40 points for the Celtics, following his 50-point effort in a win in Game 3. But with Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker injured, Tatum couldn’t save the season on his own.
Marcus Smart had 16 points and nine assists for the Celtics, who reached the Eastern Conference final in three of the previous four seasons. This year’s squad flirted with a seed from the start and was still able to put together a first round streak until April before losing 10 of their last 15 games and falling into the tournament play- in.
After losing the first two games in Brooklyn, the Celtics were hoping their home fans would help them make it a series. Tatum won in front of a quarter-capacity crowd on Friday, before COVID-19 restrictions were lifted on Saturday.
The Bruins had 17,400 for their playoff game against the Islanders on Saturday – the biggest crowd in the NHL this season. The Celtics left several rows empty around the benches on Sunday and officially announced a sold-out crowd of 17,226, about 1,500 less than the building’s official capacity.
Fans – most of them attending their first home playoff game in over two years – treated Durant to the New York Yankees in pre-game warm-ups, chanting his name derisively and applauding for every shot failed drive. They were even more rude to Irving, who professed his love for Boston and the Celtics before stepping down from his contract in 2019 to join the Nets.
“We know what these people are like in Boston. We know how passionate they are about Kyrie – they’re still mad at him, ”Durant said. “This is no reason for them to act childishly. There is no need to talk about it. We have the “W” and I hope we don’t have to come back here. “
Harden scored 15 points with six assists in the third quarter, and Irving scored 11 to help the Nets turn a 34-33 halftime deficit into a 45-37 lead. Tatum, who was scoreless in the second, responded with 18 points in the third quarter but Durant had 17 to help the Nets open a 27-point lead.
In the middle of the fourth, fans chanted 7-foot-5 Tacko Fall to enter the game.
Nets: Durant’s 17 points were the most important in the first quarter for a goal since Kenyon Martin’s 17 in Game 4 of the 2002 NBA Finals against the Lakers. … The Nets collected 100 points in three quarters of a playoff game for the second time in history. They also did it on Friday night.
Celtics: Tatum scored 14 in the first. … Walker (knee) and Robert Williams III (ankle) sat down after playing the first three games of the series, joining Brown (end of season wrist surgery) on the injury report.
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