2024 NBA Finals

Kyrie Irving snaps 13-game losing streak to Celtics

Kyrie Irving ends his struggles against his former team with a key role in an overwhelming Game 4 Finals win.

Kyrie Irving had not beaten the Celtics since 2021 before Friday’s Game 4 rout.

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After Kyrie Irving departed a stunned Celtics franchise for the Brooklyn Nets as a free agent in 2019, he enjoyed some initial success against his former team. That included a 2021 first-round playoff win, punctuated by Irving purposefully stomping on the Celtics’ center-court logo after a Game 4 win before wrapping the series in five.

Boston has stomped on Irving’s teams since, beating him 13 straight times in a stretch that includes a 2022 first-round sweep and the first three games of this fated Finals rematch with his former franchise and teammates.

Irving and the Mavericks halted that streak in emphatic fashion on Friday, routing Dallas 122-84 to force a Game 5 back in Boston on Monday (8:30 ET, ABC).

Irving, who was traded from Brooklyn to Dallas in 2023, laughed when recalling the length of his losing streak to the Celtics before reflecting on the process of overcoming it.

“It’s taken time, I can tell you that,” Irving said. “It’s difficult because as a competitor you try not to display all your emotions out there to give an edge.”

After helping to lead the Mavericks to a Game 4 victory, Kyrie Irving joins GameTime live at the 2024 NBA Finals.

Dallas pulled off the historic win behind Irving and Luka Doncic, who combined for 50 points. Irving shot 9-for-12 inside the 3-point arc. He has scored a combined 56 points over Games 3 and 4 after being held to just half that over Games 1 and 2.

Irving’s improvement mirrors that of Dallas’ role players, who have started to emerge after an equally poor start to the Finals.

“I think I was able to take a step back, too, and talk to my teammates a little bit more about just what that pressure can feel like,” Irving said. “Not just from losing to a team, but just going agains ta team and knowing that they’re doing everything possible to stop you. But it’s a team game. I have to really rely on my teammates and I think we all did a great job of that tonight.”