Kyrie Irving Hugs Ex-Celtics Teammates, Then Bashes Media After Nets Win

James Harden and Kemba Walker

Getty Brooklyn's Kyrie Irving hugs Boston's Kemba Walker after the Nets 121-109 win at Barclays Center on March 11, 2021 in New York City.

Kyrie Irving went off again Thursday night, dropping 40 points on 15-of-23 shooting to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 121-109 win over the Boston Celtics in their first game back from the All-Star break.

In his postgame press conference, Irving unloaded a few more fireworks.

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Irving Bashes Media

After the game, Irving, who spent two seasons with the Celtics between 2017-19, was seen hugging some of his former Boston teammates on his way off the floor at Barclays Center.

Irving was asked about those cordial exchanges after the game. He didn’t hold back.

“Big surprise, huh? To a lot of people … All that s*** talking about me and all the relationships I have with every teammate of mine,” Irving said, per SNY.

Irving reportedly has had fractured relationships with some of his former teammates, most notably LeBron James. But he also didn’t exactly leave Boston on the best of terms either, according to some reports.

“The part of the thing was that Kyrie Irving didn’t like Boston,” ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan reported in June 2019 on The Hoop Collective Podcast, per RealGM. “I’ve been told this by many people. He didn’t like living in Boston. He just didn’t. By the end, he had issues with Brad [Stevens]. By the end, he had issues with Danny [Ainge]. By the end, he had issues with pretty much all of us.”

Clearly, not everyone as he was seen sharing some friendly moments with his ex-teammates Thursday.

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Irving Shows off Killer Instinct

Entering Thursday, Irving was averaging a career-high 27.2 points per game — to go along with 4.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists — in the first half of the season. Thursday night at Barclays Center was a continuation of that for the 28-year-old who last weekend played in his seventh All-Star Game.

“He’s a different breed,” James Harden, another member of Brooklyn’s Big Three, said of Irving after the game, via SNY. “He has that killer mentality no matter who we play. He’s going to go out there and try to destroy the opponent. That mentality is what sets him apart from a lot of guys in the league.”

And he’s certainly got that mentality late in games. FS1’s Skip Bayless even chimed in about it on Twitter.

“Watching Kyrie take over late vs Boston… thinking, better closer, Kyrie or LeBron?” Bayless tweeted. “Concluding, not even close: Kyrie is. #clutchgene.”

On Thursday, the Nets outscored the Celtics 13-3 in the final four minutes. Irving had eight points, including two 3-pointers, during that stretch.

“I think that’s what makes the game beautiful, to be able to have spurts,” Irving said, per SNY. “It’s just the flow of the game. But when it gets to that quarter and it’s winning time, I’ve always said it throughout my career, I enjoy it more than anything else.

“My thing is just having a sustained effort throughout the whole game and being able to play the fourth quarter comfortably. And we had that tonight.”

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