Kyrie Irving fined $50,000 for lewd gesture to Celtics fans

BOSTON (AP) — Nets guard Kyrie Irving was fined $50,000 for making lewd gestures and directing profane language at the crowd during Brooklyn’s Game 1 playoff loss to the Celtics ,

League operations president Byron Spruell announced the fines on Tuesday.

Cameras captured Irving flipping his middle finger towards the fans as he ran down the field after hitting a shot in the third quarter. Irving said after the game that his actions were in response to mockery from fans who he believed had crossed the line.

“Where I’m from, I’m used to all this antics and being close to people,” Irving said after the game. “It’s nothing new when I walk into this building what it’s going to be like. But it’s the same energy they have for me, I’m going to have the same energy for them.

“And that’s not all the fans, I don’t want to attack all the Boston fans. When people start yelling (swearing) and stuff, there’s only a few things you take as competitor. We’re expected to be docile and humble, to take a humble approach…that’s the playoffs. That’s what it is.

Irving spent two seasons in Boston before leaving for free agency in 2019 to join the Nets.

In Game 1 on Sunday, he was booed every time he touched the ball, but led Brooklyn with 39 points in the Nets’ 115-114 last-second loss. Fans have given him similar receptions on recent visits to Boston.

But it reached its most volatile point last season in the Nets-Celtics playoff game when a fan was arrested after allegedly throwing a bottle at Irving that nearly hit him.

With that story in mind, prior to the start of the series, Irving said he expected a level of teasing from Celtics fans. He also noted after the incident last season that he experienced what he called “racism” from the TD Garden crowd.

The Celtics host Brooklyn in Game 2 of their series on Wednesday night.

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