BOSTON — Last season when the Nets visited TD Garden, Celtics fans showered derision on Kyrie Irving once when he was in the arena and once when he stayed behind in Brooklyn. But when the Nets visited Wednesday night, Boston fans saved their loudest boos for Kevin Durant, the player Irving convince to join him on the Nets when he left the Celtics two years ago in free agency.
Asked before the game if he worried about crowd reaction, Nets coach Steve Nash said, "I would hope our guys would welcome that. That’s what makes it fun is to go play on the road in a great atmosphere. That’s what gets you excited and it’s a pleasure to be able to play in that type of environment. A [Wednesday] night in Boston is a great NBA atmosphere. We’re excited."
Before the game, veteran forward DeAndre’ Bembry couldn’t suppress a smile when asked if he enjoyed a charged atmosphere from a hostile crowd. "Yeah, I think most of us do," Bembry said. "Coming into the NBA, you get more fans yelling at you and, obviously, different states bring different types of people out.
"But yeah, Boston is one of those cities that you know they’re going to be yelling at you, saying all type of stuff. Either you embrace it or you run from it. We have a veteran team, so that doesn’t really bother us."
Joe Harris (sprained left ankle), Bruce Brown (left hamstring tightness) and Nic Claxton (non-COVID illness) all were out for the Nets against the Celtics, but it’s possible Brown might return in the next game against the Suns Saturday at Barclays Center. "I’m very hopeful he will be back," coach Steve Nash said of Brown. "He wanted to play tonight. We think long-term it’s best that he doesn’t risk it tonight." Nash said he doesn’t expect Harris to return against the Suns . . . Former Nets assistant Ime Udoka is in his first season as head coach of the Celtics.