Kyrie Irving Faces Pressure and Hostile Boston Crowd Ahead of Crucial Game 5

Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving (NBA)

As the Dallas Mavericks prepare for Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Kyrie Irving acknowledges the intense pressure to perform in the challenging environment of TD Garden. Irving, who left the Boston Celtics five years ago, has faced harsh treatment from Boston fans, which adds to the difficulty of playing in the arena.

This animosity is compounded by his struggles in the Mavericks’ two initial road losses, where he averaged only 14 points on 35.1% shooting, providing further fuel for the hostile crowd.

Reflecting on his experience, Irving admits that the chants of “Kyrie sucks” from the fans seem to give them a psychological edge. He recognizes that his own performance issues, such as missed shots and turnovers, exacerbate the situation.

Irving emphasizes the importance of overcoming self-doubt and maintaining leadership and humanity, acknowledging that dealing with crowds and personal pressure is a significant part of his role.

Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving (NBA)

Game 4 saw the Mavericks achieve a decisive 122-84 victory, breaking Irving’s 13-game losing streak to the Celtics. This streak included a sweep of his Brooklyn Nets in the 2022 Eastern Conference playoffs. Before the current Finals, Irving expressed regret for his past reactions to Celtics fans, including flashing his middle finger at them.

His controversial actions, such as stepping on the Celtics’ logo, have further strained his relationship with the Boston fanbase.

On Sunday, Irving reflected on his time with the Celtics and wished he had shown more respect for the team’s history and connected more with past players. He admitted struggling to balance being a great player, leading a team, and integrating into the Celtics’ culture.

Irving now recognizes that failing to fully embrace the Celtics’ pride led to his current outsider status. Despite this, he accepts responsibility for his actions and the subsequent reception from Boston fans.

In contrast, Irving’s performance in Dallas during the Finals has been strong, averaging 28 points on 50% shooting. For Game 5 in Boston, he plans to change his approach, focusing on teamwork and avoiding personal battles with the crowd. The Mavericks face a significant challenge as they aim to make NBA history by overcoming a 3-0 deficit in the series.

Irving encourages his teammates to enjoy the moment and believe in their potential, inspired by his past experience with the Cleveland Cavaliers’ historic comeback in 2016. Luka Doncic echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of demonstrating belief through their performance, as shown in their Game 4 victory.