BOSTON — Based on some tangible local sentiment – someone posted a large poster of Kyrie Irving with “Coward” in bright red letters on it on an ad tower outside the Garden – animosity toward the Nets guard will probably only intensify from here.

And way down in Brooklyn, or New Jersey, or wherever the Nets’ star spent his night missing his seventh straight game with a shoulder impingement, he seemed to hear every barb.

Irving unleashed a long ramble on Instagram after Wednesday night’s game between the Celtics and Nets in Boston, arguing at one point that there are more important things in life than basketball.

“It happens all the time and Tonight just shows how Sports/Entertainment will always be ignorant and obtrusive. It’s one big SHOW that means Very VERY little in the real world that most people live in because there are actually things that matter going on within it. Like figuring out a life that means more than A damn ball going into a hoop…”

Some of Irving’s old Celtics teammates admitted they could have done without the crowd/Irving dynamic.

“I think it was probably unfair. Interesting, but probably unfair,” said Jaylen Brown. “I wasn’t really focused too much on it, I’m just trying to play basketball, but I don’t know. I don’t really got a comment on it.”

As much as his time with Irving didn’t work, Coach Brad Stevens considers it all misplaced hate.

“I think that is one of the things that, unfortunately, when you’re really, really good at something, the level of scrutiny is even higher,” Stevens said before Wednesday night’s game against the Irving-less Nets.

“He’s one of the best players in the NBA. And the level of scrutiny is unfair but it comes with the territory of all those guys. I think that’s why it’s so important that we constantly remind ourselves how good they are,” he said. “The way that people talked about his time – I mean, he was second team All-NBA last year. He was ridiculous the year before. He’s a heck of a player and he gets to choose where he wants to go play. Gets to go home, I think that’s something that we all very much respect and we certainly –like I said, we wish him nothing but health and happiness. I just think this is the world we live in. I think that’s just part of it. I don’t particularly like it, even being in the seat where you’re getting too much praise is uncomfortable. But we gotta react to something and, unfortunately, we’re pretty reactionary.”

Kemba Walker played five days after spraining his neck during a head-first collision with Semi Ojeleye’s chest, and his need for a quick return has a simple explanation.

“I love to play basketball, and that’s it,” said the Celtics’ point guard. “If I can play, I’m going to play. Everybody’s playing through something. There’s no healthy guy in the league right now. Everybody has some type of nagging injury. I can play through a lot. I’m not everybody else, you know? I have a strong love for the game and passion for the game, and I want to play. I compete.”

Walker isn’t downplaying the potential severity of the injury, suffered on Nov. 22 in Denver. Though he said Wednesday that he could have got to his feet, Walker was placed in concussion protocol as a precautionary measure, passed all of the tests, and was back after a one-and-a-half-game absence.

To hear Walker tell it, only his 158-game iron man streak suffered. He last missed a game on Dec. 12, 2017 – one of only two games he missed for the Hornets that season.

“I was (mad) about that, I’m not going to lie. I wanted to play, I wanted to keep my streak alive. I guess it was going to happen at some point,” he said. “They left it up to me. I knew they wanted to sit me, and I understood.”

As the player cautioned by medical personnel to remain curled up on the floor in Denver, Walker especially understands.

“I’m OK, appreciate it. I’m good, don’t know what else to say,” he said. “It was a scary moment. It was pretty tough to be in, obviously, I know it would be scary for anybody. But thank God I’m OK.”

The most frightening part for Walker was when he fingers went temporarily numb.

“Just my fingers, a little bit. It went away pretty fast, that’s what got me the most nervous when I was on the ground. But it went away,” he said. “They just wanted to make sure I was good, safe, so they kept me from moving and put me on the stretcher. But thank God I’m OK, and it wasn’t as bad as it looked.

“Doctors told me to stay on the ground. I definitely felt I could get up.”

Walker especially felt for Ojeleye, who may have taken the incident as emotionally hard as himself.

“Nah, nothing he can do. Wasn’t much to joke about, but he’s strong as hell,” said Walker. “I know it’s tough for him, to be the one for me to run into. I know he was pretty sad about it, but he didn’t have to be. Kind of a freak accident. Semi is such a great dude, I just let him know it was cool. He was pretty upset about it.”

WARRIORS: In a season of injuries, Coach Steve Kerr has joined the Warriors Wounded.

In a fit of fury Wednesday night, Kerr broke a hard plastic clipboard and cut his right hand. Unlike Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, Kerr isn’t likely to miss any games.

“I’m day-to-day,” Kerr said, bandaged but smiling after a 104-90 victory over the Chicago Bulls, only the Warriors’ fourth in 19 games this season.

The Warriors, whose .211 winning percentage is the worst in the NBA, were frittering away a nine-point fourth-quarter lead when Kerr called for a timeout. He entered the team huddle with a whole clipboard and a bloody hand.

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