kyrie irving
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA is coming down hard on Kyrie Irving for his antics in Boston. The Brooklyn Nets star is being fined $50,000 “for making obscene gestures on the playing court and directing profane language toward the spectator stands.” The news was posted to Twitter by 50,000 sportswriters who received the email at the same time.

Irving was going off on the Boston crowd on Saturday — middle fingers, expletives, crotch grabs, etc. After the game, he spoke about embracing the “dark side” of the playoffs. From his point of view, he’s justified in his actions because of how the Boston fans treat him.

Some fans and analysts are going to clutch their pearls at Irving taunting the crowd. Players take a lot of heat from fans and we’ve seen countless incidents of abusive fan behavior in the NBA since fans returned to arenas. If Kyrie wants to give fans the New Jersey state sign and he’s willing to pay the piper for it, more power to him.

For a guy who sat out the majority of the season because of a vaccine mandate, it’s unlikely that he cares much about this fine. The money won’t phase him. It’s safe to assume we’ll see more vitriol from both sides on Wednesday.

But that’s not a bad thing for the Nets. Irving tends to be at his best in the biggest moments. The TD Garden crowd seemed to provide fuel for Kyrie’s internal engine. It was like when Reggie Miller went at Spike Lee in Game 5 of the 1994 NBA Playoffs, but with Irving giving the choke sign to the entire crowd.

And oh yeah, the Nets lost. Irving put Brooklyn on his back to lead a second-half comeback but they didn’t have enough firepower to close the deal. With that said, the Nets could head home in a great position to win this series if they can flip the script in Game 2.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.