Kyrie Irving throws ball deep into stands because Jamal Murray tried to score 50

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Jamal Murray scored 48 points on the Celtics last night.

He wanted 50.

The Nuggets guard shot twice in the final 20 seconds with Denver’s victory already secure, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Murray probably could have driven to the basket for an easy layup. By then, Boston let its guard down even more than it had earlier. The final 3 struck me as a self-imposed compromise to Murray.

But Kyrie Irving sure didn’t see it that way. He refused a handshake from Nuggets assistant Jordi Fernandez, who worked with Irving on the Cavaliers, then launched the ball into the stands:

That will probably get Irving fined. That it happened after the buzzer shouldn’t be an excuse. Kelly Oubre got fined for kicking a ball into the stands after a game last year.

Irving, via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston:

“I mean, what kind of competitor wouldn’t it bother?” Irving said after dressing quick following Boston’s loss. “I understand if we fouled him, going to the free-throw line. I don’t want to make a big deal out of it. Obviously, I was pissed at the game, but it’s time to decompress and move on. Congratulations to him having 48 points. He did it in a great fashion against us. Our defense has to be better especially against a player like that in the pick-and-roll. He was the primary concern tonight and he made us pay in certain instances of making some tough shots and some tough layups.

“But the ball deserves to go in the crowd after a bulls—— move like that. So I threw it in the crowd.”

Marcus Morris, via Forsberg:

“I know him personally, so I’m not gonna sit up here and badger him. It was definitely unprofessional,” said Morris. “If I was out there, I probably would have did something. Definitely unprofessional. But he’s a young player, he’ll learn later down the road, I guess.”

The Celtics have a right to feel however they want. They can be sensitive, petulant and vindictive.

But it should make them look worse than Murray.

Murray tried to score during a basketball game. Was it attempting to run up the score? Yeah. Was that the primary purpose? No. He wanted to hit a statistical milestone. If the Celtics didn’t like it, they had a recourse available to them:

Play defense.