There’s a rivalry between Kyrie Irving and the Celtics fanbase, and another chapter was written on Sunday.
Late in the third quarter of Game 1, Irving made a difficult bucket in the corner as the shot clock expired. As he went back on defense, Irving quickly turned and raised his middle finger up to the Celtics’ crowd at TD Garden.
Kyrie Irving gives middle finger to Celtics crowd 👀 pic.twitter.com/WxKGVwvw0r— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) April 17, 2022
Globe photographer Jim Davis also captured the moment.
Irving has had some tense moments with Celtics fans since he left Boston in 2019.
Fans jeered him during a game against the Nets in 2019 in which Irving didn’t even play.
In 2020, when he returned to play for the first time with Brooklyn, Irving burned sage on the floor at TD Garden even though fans weren’t in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the 2021 first-round series between the Celtics and Nets — Irving’s first games back in Boston with fans in the stands — he was booed whenever he touched the ball and received consistent “Kyrie sucks!” chants.
Following the Nets’ Game 4 win in that series, Irving stomped on the Celtics’ logo at midcourt before a fan threw a water bottle at him as he went back to the locker room.
Irving received jeers again throughout Game 1, especially after his elbow connected with Celtics guard Marcus Smart’s face on a shot attempt in the third quarter.
The Celtics won, 115-114, when Jayson Tatum snuck the ball in with .2 seconds left on the clock.
Game 2 is Wednesday.