The Nets were dealt another blow Sunday when All-Star Kyrie Irving sprained his ankle in the second quarter of Brooklyn’s 107-96 loss to Milwaukee, evening their second-round series at 2-2. Already playing without James Harden (he aggravated his hamstring injury minutes into Game 1 and hasn’t seen the court since), the Nets, who as recently as last week appeared to be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference, are suddenly fighting for their playoff lives.
Former NBA big man Glen “Big Baby” Davis, best known for his four-year tenure in Boston (where he won a title alongside the Celtics’ Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in 2008), had plenty to say on Instagram, suggesting Irving’s injury was karma for defacing the Celtics’ center-court logo.
Irving, who defected to Brooklyn in free agency after a tumultuous, two-year stint in Boston, heard it from fans at TD Garden (including one who took his beef too far), who booed the polarizing point guard every chance they got. Channeling his inner Rick James (who, as chronicled on Chappelle’s Show, famously grinded his muddy cowboy boots on Eddie Murphy’s couch), Irving took his frustration out on Boston’s leprechaun mascot “Lucky,” offending many in the Celtics community including Garnett.
Irving’s injury, it should be noted, was to his right ankle, not the one he used to stomp on Lucky in Game 4 of Brooklyn’s first-round series with Boston. X-rays came back negative, though Irving was spotted leaving the arena in a walking boot and crutches, putting his availability in doubt for Tuesday night’s Game 5 in Brooklyn. If Irving and Harden don’t dress, Brooklyn’s fate will be in the hands of Kevin Durant, who has struggled mightily the past two games (37.8 field-goal percentage with nine turnovers).