Irving believes Nets 'needed humbling experience' of Celtics whitewash

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Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving thinks his team "needed" their 4-0 loss to the Boston Celtics in last season's NBA playoffs.

That chastening first-round exit to Irving's former team brought to an end a frustrating campaign for the much-fancied Nets.

With Irving being teamed with Kevin Durant and James Harden, many felt Brooklyn were the favourites to go all the way.

However, Irving only made 29 appearances in all for the Nets, mainly due to his unvaccinated status meaning he could not play any home games until late in the season when the ban in New York on unvaccinated players was lifted.

Durant also missed some games through injury, while Harden struggled for form before being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons, who is yet to make his Nets debut.

Speaking on Twitch for streamer KaiCenat, Irving said: "We got 4-0'd my G, we got 4-0'd. It was meant to happen like that. Motivation, bro.

"We needed that humbling experience, especially going against the Celtics. It was already built to be that match-up.

"We're going to see them again, we're going to have to. They're going to be where they're going to be. But those young'uns 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."

Irving – who exercised his $37million player option with the Nets for next season in June – still managed to average 27.4 points per game last year, as well as 4.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists.