Nets' Kyrie Irving bring the ball upcourt against the Cleveland...

Nets' Kyrie Irving bring the ball upcourt against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Barclays Center on Tuesday, April 12, 2022. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Hey Boston, Kyrie Irving is so over you.

At least that was the message at the Nets' practice facility Friday as his team prepared to open their first-round playoff series Sunday in Boston against the Celtics, one of Irving’s former teams.

“I don't think he cares anymore,” Nets coach Steve Nash said when asked about Irving getting up to play Boston. “I think he's been through it now for a playoff series, and five, six regular-season games or whatever it's been ... So he's probably had — I don’t know, you tell me — but he's had over a handful of games in Boston, so I don't think that he even really thinks too much about it anymore.”

A year ago, when the Nets defeated the Celtics, 4-1, there was still some bad blood between Celtics fans and the player who left them in July 2019 to sign with the Nets. The emotion bubbled over when Irving stepped on the face of the Celtics' mascot, Lucky the leprechaun, after the Nets' win in Game 4. Then as he left the arena, Irving was nearly hit in the head by an airborne water bottle, an incident that resulted in the arrest of a Boston fan.

“I’m like, bro, just let it go. I’ve moved on,” Irving said when asked if he still hears from Boston fans. “It’s been three years. We’ve had enough of the back and forth. Let’s just compete against each other because the fans can’t come on the court, [the media] can’t come on the court.”

Irving said he wants to win the series not because it’s the Celtics, but because he wants to win the series.

“It’s been three years now,” Irving said. “Hopefully, probably by the fourth year or after this series, we can be done talking about the past time and what happened there. For me, I definitely don’t want to focus on anything other than what’s going on with our team. Don’t want to focus on the fans; don’t want to focus on any of the extra stuff outside of my control. The environment’s going to be the environment. I’m looking forward to it. It’s just going in there with a sharp focus, fearless attitude and just stay to our team principles, and just live with the results.

“I just hope we can move past kind of my Boston era, and just reflect on some of the highlights I left at TD Garden that they can replay. And just move forward. New paradigm, baby.”

Notes & quotes: Despite reports that Ben Simmons is preparing to join the Nets later in this series, Nash said Simmons hasn’t done anything with the team yet. Irving also joined Kevin Durant in saying he is not planning on Simmons joining the team any time soon. Said Irving: "We don't have any expectations of Ben. Again, I'm not going home and being like, 'Well, Ben's going to be here for Game 4 through 6.' Whoever's reporting that, I don't know how those reports come out. So I'm not expecting him to do anything outside of just getting healthy. And if he is ready, great, then we'll integrate him as best we can.”

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