There’s always two sides when a battle ends: one enjoys the thrill of victory, while the other suffers the agony of defeat. In the 2024 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks, the Celtics were the former as they exorcised the playoff demons and finally got the championship back in Beantown. The Mavs, on the other hand, while inspired by a good run, are back on the drawing board.

No other Maverick will perhaps face more criticism than Kyrie Irving in the coming months. Sure, Luka Doncic will continue to hear all the issues about his defense, constant complaining to the referees, and physique, and he may want to shy away from attention for a while, but it’s Irving who really has a golden target on his back. Not only did he have an awful series, he has also opened himself further to relentless Celtic fans, who are all itching to throw dirt at him regardless. It’s a well-documented contentious relationship, and one can only imagine how much dislike is there.

Irving had a drama-free 2023-24 regular season, and it was nicely accompanied by solid numbers (25.6 PPG, 5.2 APG, 49.7% / 41.1% / 90.5%), where he was just 0.3% short of a rare 50-40-90 season. He then continued the strong play while they trailed a path to the finals. Unfortunately for the 32-year-old, all were seamlessly wiped away by the Celtics’ smart, savvy, and wily defense.


The Cs also made sure they played him the best while at the TD Garden, right in front of the rabid Bostonians. In three finals games there, Irving was limited to 14.3 points per game on 33.9% (18-of-53) shooting. Though Game 3 saw him drop a game-high 35 points, it was for nothing as it ended in a loss that brought Dallas down to a 0-3 series deficit. 

‘Uncle Drew’ was abysmal in the matchup and simply got ‘sonned.’ 

The supposed “curse” after Irving seemingly stepped on the Celtics’ logo–widely called Lucky–will also continue. He has not won in Boston since May 31, 2021 and is 1-14 overall in the 15 games following the infamous moment.

Aside from this finals abomination, here’s what Irving has gone through after that:

  • 2021 playoffs: Got injured in Game 4 of the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. the Milwaukee Bucks. He wasn’t able to return in the series and the Nets lost, 4-3.
  • 2021-22 regular season: Got limited to 29 games due to being unvaccinated. Teammate James Harden asks to be traded after just 12 months in Brooklyn.
  • 2022 playoffs: Got swept by the Celtics in the first round, 4-0.
  • 2022-23 regular season –  Head coach Steve Nash was fired seven games into the season, then had an up-and-down play through January. He asked out of Brooklyn in February and was traded to Dallas. The Mavs suddenly collapsed after the All-Star break and blatantly tanked at the end of the season to miss the playoffs.

It will now be an interesting wait to the 2024-25 season for the Mavericks and Irving. He is sure to add this for inspiration as he begins another climb back to the finals. The Mavs will have plenty of chances to reload and keep their superbly talented veteran point guard in the Big D. Irving will have a player option at the end of next season.