Kyrie: Nets needed 'humbling' 1st-round sweep vs. Celtics
"It was meant to happen like that. Motivation bro," Irving told Twitch streamer KaiCenat on Sunday. "We needed that humbling experience, especially going against the Celtics. It was already built to be that matchup. We're gonna see them again, we're gonna have to.
"They're gonna be where they're gonna be. But those youngins over there in Boston, bro, I got to see them grow up. So to see them do what they did last year on the Finals stage, making it that far, I'm glad they had to go through us."
Brooklyn had to earn its postseason berth through the play-in tournament after finishing seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Nets played a competitive series against the Celtics, dropping all four contests by single digits, including a buzzer-beater in Game 1.
Irving averaged 21.3 points, 5.3 boards, 5.3 assists, and 1.8 steals against the eventual East champions. Co-star Kevin Durant registered 26.3 points per contest but was held to just 38.6% shooting from the field.
Brooklyn has won just one playoff series since the duo joined forces in 2019.
Both Irving and Durant are back in the fold after each pondered a future elsewhere this summer. Three-time All-Star guard Ben Simmons, who the Nets acquired in the James Harden blockbuster, is also expected to be ready for training camp after undergoing back surgery in May.