Kyrie Irving vents about Celtics after Nets suffer embarrassing beatdown in Boston

Kyrie Irving vents about Celtics after Nets suffer embarrassing beatdown in Boston

BOSTON — The Celtics built the biggest first-quarter lead in franchise history on Wednesday night at the expense of Kyrie Irving and the understaffed Nets en route to a 139-96 victory.

The former Celtic point guard has been full of praise for his ex-teammates in recent years as Boston have dominated head-to-head clashes. After the team’s 10th straight loss at TD Garden, Irving was quick to talk about the gap he sees between the two franchises at this point.

“When you’re up against a highly motivated team like the Boston Celtics, they have a chip on their shoulder,” Irving said. “It’s as clear as day that they want to win a championship and waste no time in the regular season. So tonight I felt like we were just one of those teams on the way and we just can’t be one of those teams on the way. We have to be one of those teams that stands up to them and at least shows them that we are going to be competition for them in the future, which I believe we are.

Irving scored a team-high 20 points in 31 minutes in the 139-96 loss as the Nets played without Ben Simmons, Kevin Durant and TJ Warren due to injuries. The loss dropped Brooklyn 5.5 games behind the Celtics for the top seed in the East just weeks after climbing to second place.

The Nets are just 4-7 since losing Kevin Durant to injury, including two losses to Boston in that span. Jacque Vaughn also took responsibility for his team’s struggles in the historic beatdown.

“I think if you look at how we move and the energy and the effort that we needed to beat this team tonight, we were lacking that from the start of the game,” Vaughn said.

The Celtics will be aiming for their third straight win at TD Garden on Friday night against the Suns as they try to build on their momentum.

“It was nice to have,” Mazzulla said of the win. Every game you have, you have to learn, no matter what. So I think the guys feel good. We were able to rest. The guys were able to play fewer minutes than normal, so you can relax a bit. But you don’t want to relax too much. So you have to be grateful for the result you have, but you have to understand that you have to keep moving forward. So the most important thing is that I like the way our guys played throughout the game.

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