A Celtics fan who threw a water bottle at Kyrie Irving will be arraigned Tuesday in Boston Municipal Court. Hours later, the Nets will be on the court, trying to end the Celtics’ season.
Brooklyn is looking to move on, both from the incident and in the playoffs.
The Nets can close out their heated first-round series with a Game 5 victory at Barclays Center — and they don’t have any intention of going back up to Boston for what would surely be a nasty Game 6.
“We know how these people are in Boston. And we know how passionate they are about Kyrie in particular, and they’re still upset at him. That’s no reason for them to act childish,” Kevin Durant said after Sunday night’s blowout win. “But we don’t need to speak on that. We know what it is already coming in here. Glad we got the ‘W,’ hopefully we don’t have to come back this year.”
It’s easy to see why the Nets — who have a 3-1 series lead — wouldn’t want to have to head back up to Beantown, for a multitude of reasons.
With Milwaukee having already swept Miami in the most dominant defensive series of the last five years, they’re just waiting and resting and preparing for the Nets-Celtics winner. The Nets dropped consecutive games to the Bucks on May 2 and 4 and don’t want to go into a second-round showdown worn out from a slugfest against Boston.
And rest assured, a Game 6 Thursday in Boston would be just that.
The Nets didn’t have to face Kemba Walker (knee) or Robert Williams (ankle) on Sunday. Both have been upgraded to doubtful for Tuesday, and could be healed if this series is extended.
“The job isn’t finished,” Irving warned. “So it’s just momentary.”
Rather than time healing old wounds, Celtics fans’ hatred of Irving seems to be growing exponentially, like a nuclear meltdown.
Apparently “F–k Kyrie” is becoming a Boston version of “Potvin sucks.” Fans chanted it during Brooklyn’s March 2020 visit despite Irving not even being present. They even chanted it at Saturday’s Red Sox game.
And of course the bile built up over the weekend, culminating with a water bottle getting thrown at Irving, reportedly grazing his head.
Now, as Cole Buckley — the 21-year-old charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, according to Boston police — is set to be arraigned, the Nets are looking to put both the incident and the Celtics in the rearview mirror.
“I just want to move on from this, man,” Irving said. “I’ve dealt with it as a player as a Celtic of different things, and now being an opponent again. I just want to move on.”
The Big 3 of Irving, Durant and James Harden led the highest-scoring playoff performance in Nets history. Their rate of 143.9 points-per-100 possessions was the sixth-most efficient postseason game by any team in the last 25 years.
“I liked it a lot better,” Steve Nash said. “We ran more actions. We were still terrific in isolation, but we ran more action, got more people involved, had a lot more assists, a lot more balance and clearly we had a great shooting night.”
After being bogged down by the Celtics’ switching defense and held to a season-low 16 assists in the Game 3 loss, their 29 dimes Sunday — 18 by Harden — were a return to normal, ball movement they’ll look to build on.
“[Harden] was terrific, vision is outstanding and his ability to find guys out of the pick-and-roll when they doubled the screen,” Nash said. “It was fun to watch, and when he’s able to pick the gym apart like that it’s pretty special.”
After Durant combined with Harden for 80 points Friday, he teamed with Irving for 81 Sunday. It made the Nets just the second team ever with multiple 35-point scorers in consecutive games. The other? Elgin Baylor and Jerry West for the 1962 Lakers. That squad reached the Finals, before losing a nail-biter Game 7.
Someplace the Nets don’t plan on seeing until next season.
“Huge game for us,” Harden said. “Game 5, we’ve got to be ready to go.”