Kyrie Irving cleans court with sage, then helps Nets beat Celtics in Boston

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BOSTON – Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has announced plans to burn sage before every game this season to honor his Native American heritage.

Irving was seen burning sage – a so-called “smudge” – on the TD Garden field during warm-ups before his Nets beat the Boston Celtics 113-89 on Friday night in the pre-season final. NBA season for both teams.

“It’s just coming from a lot of native tribes,” Irving said after the game. “Being able to make sage, just purifying the energy, making sure we’re all balanced. When we go into this job, we come to this place, it’s not something I don’t do at home that I did today. was the last game, and I plan to save almost every game if the opposing team allows me.

“But, literally, it’s more or less for us to stay connected and for us to feel good about going to work and feeling safe and subsidized by our ancestors. I’m not going to bring too much spirituality to basketball, but yeah, it’s part of my native culture where I’m from. ”

Irving was inducted into the Standing Rock Sioux tribe – of which his mother, Elizabeth, was a member – in the summer of 2018. When he was seen burning the sage before Friday’s game, it was speculated that he might have some things to do. with his return and play in Boston for the first time since leaving as a free agent to join the Nets last summer.

But that’s no surprise to his teammates.

“It’s his thing. Kyrie probably keeps his bedroom before playing 2K when he gets home, ”Kevin Durant told ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth.

“That’s exactly what he’s doing. It gives us good energy. He does it in the locker room. It’s his thing, and we all respect him. We respect his method, and he comes here and plays extremely hard for us. ”

As for the game itself, the Nets sailed, sending the Celtics out a week before the two teams met in Boston on Christmas Day (5 p.m. ET, ABC). Irving had 17 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists in 28 minutes, while Durant had 25 points and six rebounds in 27 minutes.

And, despite Irving’s acrimonious departure from Boston, as well as the trials and tribulations that marked his second season with the Celtics, he was all smiles after the game. He had a long chat and hug with Celtics assistant coach Jerome Allen and exchanged greetings with former teammates Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Daniel Theis and Robert Williams.

Irving swapped shirts with Tatum and Williams, and had a long, upbeat conversation with Brown and Tatum before leaving the field. He later said that coming back to play here was nothing special for him.

“It’s like another day at work, honestly,” Irving said. “I’m grateful that I can relate to a lot of these guys who are still there, guys who are not there yet. And, at the end of the day, we went to war together. And I respect all of those. young men there.

“We’re not even young. We’re just young kings growing up in a business where we want to do what makes us happy. See Jayson improve, see Jaylen improve, see these guys mature and take those positions. they are, I am only proud of them. Seeing other guys be happy is all I could want. Getting here is easy, man. Playing here is easy. Playing here is easy. Basketball is the easy part. It’s just the external elements that get loud, so I try to limit that. ”

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