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Kyrie Irving’s Top 5 performances during his time with the Boston Celtics

Kyrie Irving wasn't always hated by the city of Boston. in fact, his brief tenure with the Celtics was filled with some memorable moments
Kyrie Irving’s top 5 performances during his time with the Boston Celtics

Even though he is one of the most hated players in Boston, Kyrie Irving had quite a few memorable performances wearing a Celtics jersey

The city of Boston despises Irving now, but for two brief seasons, Kyrie and the Celtics were a formidable pairing

The Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets are currently in the midst of one of the most compelling first-round matchups in NBA history. Rarely do we get to see two championship-caliber teams square off so early on in the playoffs. While it will be tough to see one of these two teams go home so early, the first two games of the series have resulted in some great basketball.

Of course, one of the main talking points of the series revolves around Kyrie Irving and the chants he has been facing from the Boston crowd. You all probably know the story now, but in case you don't, here's the rundown; Irving openly said he intended to re-sign with the Celtics after the 2018-19 season, which he ended up not doing, and instead teamed up with Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets. So it's safe to say that it didn't go over too well with the Celtics and their fans.

Every time Irving touches the ball, he's promptly subject to a loud chorus of boos from the TD Garden faithful. He has responded by flipping off Celtics fans on three separate occasions in Game 1, before delivering some profane comments to the media in the aftermath as well:

"And it's not every fan, I don't want to attack every fan, every Boston fan. When people start yelling 'p---y' or 'b----' and 'f--- you' and all this stuff, there's only but so much you take as a competitor. We're the ones expected to be docile and be humble, take a humble approach, f--- that, it's the playoffs. This is what it is."

Irving's Game 1 actions netted him a $50,000 fine from the NBA. While the Irving/Boston feud is at an all-time high, it's important to remember that, for a point in time, these two sides united to build a championship contender that nearly reached the NBA Finals in just his first season. With the feud reaching its peak, let's take a trip down memory lane and look at Irving's top five performances during his short two-season stint with the C's.

Kyrie Irving's fifth-best game with the Boston Celtics: December 25, 2018, vs. Philadelphia 76ers (40 PTS, 17/33, 10 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL)

The 2018-19 Celtics spent most of the season in neutral. The C's and their fans will remember the season-ending with Irving taking terrible shots throughout their second-round loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. But games like their Christmas Day matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers showed just how good Irving and that Celtics team could have been.

The Celtics controlled the proceedings for most of the first three quarters but stared at a seven-point deficit with eight minutes in the fourth. Irving checked back in and helped the C's fight to overtime with eight points in the final frame, including the game-tying shot with 20 seconds left.

Once in overtime, Irving took control. He hit back-to-back three-point shots to turn a two-point deficit into a four-point lead that Boston wouldn't relinquish. Then, when all was said and done, Irving had 40 points, and Boston had a lovely Christmas present with a 121-114 win over the 76ers.

While it's not Irving's most efficient performance (he barely shot above 50 percent and had just two assists), it showed how important he was to Boston that season. Ironically, this game foreshadowed what would ultimately destroy this version of the Celtics. They relied too heavily on Irving, and when they needed him the most, he disappeared in their season-ending postseason loss to the Bucks.

Kyrie Irving's fourth-best game with the Boston Celtics: January 21, 2018, vs. Orlando Magic (40 PTS, 14/23, 7 REB, 5 AST, 1 BLK)

This game was one of the rare times we saw the 2017-18 Celtics struggle, even as they lost Irving for the playoffs. Boston lost this game 103-95 to a terrible Magic team, and it would have been even uglier if it had not been for Irving.

Irving came out of the gates hot in this one with 15 in the first quarter, but it only resulted in a one-point Celtics lead when all was said and done. Irving scored nine more in the second, but Boston still only held a one-point lead at the half despite a 24-point first-half outburst from Kyrie.

The C's struggled in the second half, and if it weren't for Irving's 16 points, it would have been a laugher. He kept Boston within striking distance down the stretch in the fourth quarter, but nobody else showed any desire to help him out offensively. Kyrie's second 40-point outing went to waste as Boston suffered an unusually frustrating loss.

This game was so impressive because of the extensive attention Irving was getting from Orlando. It just didn't matter to him. He was scoring at will throughout the game, and he easily could have had more than five assists if it wasn't for some untimely shooting from his teammates. This outing from Irving showcased just how vital he was to his team, even if the result didn't go his way.

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Kyrie Irving's third-best game with the Boston Celtics: January 18, 2019, vs. Memphis Grizzlies (38 PTS, 14/21, 7 REB, 11 AST, 1 BLK)

When Irving was at his best, the Celtics were virtually unstoppable. Throughout this one, he controlled the game, whether he was scoring the ball or setting up his teammates for open looks. Even a balanced scoring effort from an inconsistent Grizzlies team wasn't enough to deter Irving and the C's in this one.

The first half of this game was all over the place, and it looked like a typical frustrating Celtics game, as they got outscored by the Grizzlies in the second quarter by 15 points after winning the first quarter by 11.

Irving came out in the third quarter and torched Memphis on his way to a 20-point frame. Nobody on the Grizzlies could stop him, and he scored eight straight for Boston at the end of the quarter to help give them a five-point lead heading into the final quarter, which they would not relinquish on their way to a 122-116 victory.

Kyrie sometimes tends to be too much of a shooter, but he's nearly unguardable when he passes the ball. So he was firing on all cylinders in this one, and if he didn't miss three of his nine free throws, he would have had another 40-point game. The good times were good during the 2018-19 season, but unfortunately, they were pretty short-lived.

Kyrie Irving's second-best game with the Boston Celtics: November 16, 2018, vs. Toronto Raptors (43 PTS, 18/26, 2 REB, 11 AST, 3 STL, 1 BLK)

Talk about an all-around performance. Irving carved up the Raptors' defense in this one, and he also put forth a scintillating defensive effort to slow down Toronto's point guard Kyle Lowry on the other end. This may be Irving's best performance with Boston in terms of overall impact.

Irving very often closed out games for the Celtics, but in this one, he helped ensure they didn't get closed out by Kawhi Leonard on the other side. Irving dropped an absurd 19 points in the fourth quarter to help erase an eight-point deficit early in the frame. He scored 11 straight points for Boston at one point while also picking up a pair of crucial assists along the way.

Irving was even better in overtime for how impressive he was in the fourth quarter. He scored or assisted every field goal Boston made in the OT, and his pull-up middy with just under two left iced the game and gave him his final total of 43 points. Irving's heroics led Boston to a 123-116 win over the eventual NBA champions.

In some ways, this game is an infuriating reminder for Celtics fans because it proves just how good their team could have been in 2018 had all their pieces clicked. Irving went toe-to-toe with Leonard and the Raptors and won; if only he were as good for Boston, once the postseason began.

Kyrie Irving's best game with the Boston Celtics: November 20, 2017, at Dallas Mavericks (47 PTS, 16/22, 6 AST, 3 REB, 1 STL)

After losing their first two games of the season, the Celtics proceeded to reel off a 16-game win streak that culminated in Irving's 47-point outburst against the Dallas Mavericks. Like many of the other games on this list, Irving and the C's had to overcome a second-half deficit to win the game in overtime.

Boston trailed by as many as 11 in the fourth quarter before Irving went to work. He was pretty quiet for most of the second half, as he only scored seven points over the first 22 minutes of the half. But then he quickly scored five straight points to erase a six-point deficit with under two minutes to go and then found Tatum for the game-tying layup to send things to overtime.

And then, per usual, Irving shined bright in overtime and showcased why he is one of the most clutch players in the NBA. He scored 10 points in the extra period, all coming in the final three minutes of action. After cooling off in the second half, Irving took control of the game and ensured Boston's win streak would reach 16 games in a row.

Irving was stellar this game. Boston had no business winning this contest, but Irving made it nearly impossible for them to lose with his scoring ways. His efficiency was superb, and he managed to keep his teammates involved even though he was practically hitting every shot he could.

The early days of Irving's tenure with Boston were magical. Now, the Celtics are hoping to prove he made the wrong choice by teaming up with Durant in Brooklyn by eliminating him in the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs. 

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