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#pounditTuesday, July 5, 2022

Kyrie Irving has message for critics after playoff sweep

Kyrie Irving wearing his Nets uniform

Feb 1, 2020; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets barely put up a fight in their first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics, and many fans were happy to see them fail. Kyrie Irving is well aware of that.

After the Celtics completed their sweep of the Nets on Monday night, Irving was asked what emotions he was experiencing with his season officially coming to an end. He spoke about using Brooklyn’s critics as motivation during the offseason.

“On the positive side, there’s motivation just burning in my heart right now,” Irving said. “I know so many people wanted to see us fail at this juncture. (They) picked us as contenders and have so much to say at this point, so I’m just using that as fuel for the summer.”

Irving then alluded to the issues the Nets dealt with this season, most notably him not being allowed to play in home games due to his vaccination status.

“Hopefully we don’t run into any barriers and we can just start fresh and be realistic with our expectations and live with our team results, rather than being the polarization of the media scrum and having our names be dragged for a series that naturally happens in people’s careers,” Irving added.

The Nets — especially Irving — deserve most of the criticism that comes their way. Irving seems to always be worried about things other than basketball, and that has clearly had a negative impact on many of his teams. That was probably one of the main reasons Brooklyn underachieved this season.

Even some Nets fans seemed frustrated with Irving by the end of the season. He can say he will use all that as motivation, but history tells us something else will come up to take his focus away from the game.

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