As the Nets walked off the floor following their 141-126 win over the Celtics in Game 4 of the first round, Brooklyn star Kyrie Irving was nearly hit in the head by a water bottle thrown from the stands. The broadcast shows the bottle coming close to Irving while he walks into the tunnel with the rest of the team.
Irving, who played for the Celtics from 2017-19, spoke earlier this week on his concerns about how Boston fans would welcome him back as an opposing player, saying he hoped fans would keep their taunting to "strictly basketball."
Celtics guard and former teammate Marcus Smart seemed to validate Irving's concerns, saying he's heard racist comments from Boston fans during his time with the team.
Boston Police appeared to be arresting the man who presumably threw the bottle after the game. Officials were seen escorting a man wearing a Celtics jersey while in handcuffs and he was subsequently banned for life from TD Garden.
After the game, Nets forward Kevin Durant sounded off on the incident, urging fans to, "Grow the f--- up, and enjoy the game. It's bigger than you," per Matt Brooks from Nets Daily.
Irving added his frustration afterwards, characterizing the event as "underlying racism."
"You're seeing a lot of old ways come up ... just underlying racism and treating people like they're in a human zoo," Irving said, per ESPN's Malika Andrews. "Throwing stuff at people, saying things. There is a certain point where it gets to be too much."
Durant and Irving combined for 81 points on 25-for-44 shooting and 9-for-15 on three-point attempts on Sunday, proving too much for Boston's defense to handle. Brooklyn's third All-Star, James Harden, had 23 points and 18 assists.
The Nets' win gives Brooklyn a 3-1 series lead, with a chance to advance to the second round at home on Tuesday.
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