Steve Nash not expecting Celtics fans to be a factor for Kyrie Irving, Nets

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Steve Nash dismisses Celtics fans' potential impact on Kyrie, Nets originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

BOSTON -- The majority of the 19,580 fans expected at TD Garden on Sunday will be focused on throwing Kyrie Irving off his game.

Steve Nash apparently doesn't believe they'll have much success.

When asked how he'll try to prevent the hostile Garden crowd from dictating Game 1 of the Boston Celtics' and Nets' first-round playoff matchup, the Brooklyn head coach seemed a bit perplexed.

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"I’ve never really thought about it in those terms. You go and play ball, play hard, and try to win the game," Nash said. "I don’t think you really worry about the fans."

But what about the crowd's potential impact on Irving, who should draw plenty of vitriol from Boston fans after his unceremonious exit from the Celtics in 2019?

"You don’t go into the game worrying about fans. You go into the game worrying about performing," Nash said. "I don’t worry about Kyrie. Young players, they’re getting their feet wet in this scenario, and some of that is a process.

"Once you’ve been there a few times -- Kyrie’s been here a number of times. He’s been here in a playoff sense and hostile environments dozens of times. It’s not something that I really think has a huge effect on Kyrie."

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To Nash's point, the crowd didn't seem to affect Irving when these teams met in the 2021 postseason. The former Celtics guard averaged 24.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists during that first-round series, which Brooklyn won handily 4-1.

But this is a far superior Celtics team that won 28 of its final 35 regular-season games and finished with the NBA's top-ranked defense. So, Irving might have a harder time putting up big numbers in Boston.

He also might hear even louder boos from Celtics fans Sunday afternoon -- despite his recent request to the masses.

"I hope we could move past my Boston era and reflect on some of the highlights I left at TD Garden that they can replay," Irving said earlier this week. "Move forward. Just a new paradigm, baby."

Early reports from TD Garden suggest there's no new paradigm coming.

Note: Games 2-6 of the Brooklyn Nets-Boston Celtics series will be aired exclusively on NBC Sports Boston and can also be streamed on NBCSportsBoston.com or with the MyTeams App, which you can download below.

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