Kevin Durant has message for Celtics fans after Kyrie Irving water bottle incident

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KD has a message for C's fans after Kyrie water bottle incident originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Kevin Durant came out in strong defense of Kyrie Irving and his Brooklyn Nets teammates on Sunday night.

A fan at TD Garden threw a water bottle at Irving as the Nets star was walking off the court following Brooklyn's 141-126 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of their first-round NBA playoff series.

The incident was one of several in recent days in which NBA fans crossed the line: A New York Knicks fan spit at Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young during their first-round series, while a Philadelphia 76ers fan dumped popcorn on Washington Wizards star Russell Westbrook.

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Durant was asked Sunday what can be done to protect players in these situations and offered a passionate response.

"Fans have got to grow up at some point," Durant said in his postgame press conference, via MassLive.com. "I know that being in the house for a year-and-a-half with the pandemic got a lot of people on edge, got a lot of people stressed out. But when you come into these games, you've got realize these men are human. We’re not animals; we’re not in a circus.

"You coming to the game is not all about you as a fan. Have some respect for the game, have some respect for these human beings and have some respect for yourself. Your mother wouldn’t be proud of you throwing water bottles at basketball players or spitting on players or tossing popcorn.

"Grow the f--- up and enjoy the game. It’s bigger than you."

Irving left a bitter taste in the mouths of Celtics fans when he joined the Nets in the summer of 2019 after promising to re-sign with the C's prior to the 2018-19 season. The All-Star guard fueled that animosity after Game 4 by rubbing his foot on the Celtics' logo, prompting Kevin Garnett and other team legends to call him out.

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There's still no place for fans throwing projectiles at players, though. Durant said he and Irving didn't even speak about the water bottle incident after Game 4 and are looking forward to putting the Celtics in their rearview mirror.

"We didn’t even talk about it," Durant said. "We know how these people here are in Boston. We know how passionate they are about Kyrie in particular. They still upset at him. That’s no reason for them to act childish but we don’t need to speak on that. We know what it is already coming in here.

"Glad we got the W. Hopefully we don’t have to come back here this year."

The Nets hold a 3-1 series lead and can end Boston's season Tuesday with a win in Game 5 in Brooklyn.