Irving airmailed the ball after Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, sitting on 48 points, attempted to reach the 50-point plateau in the waning moments of Monday night’s game.
Irving wound up with the ball after ripping his hand away when Nuggets assistant Jordi Fernandez — who was a player development assistant with the Cavaliers during Irving’s first two NBA seasons in Cleveland — attempted to shake it.
Still irked following the game, Irving explained his actions.
“I mean, what kind of competitor wouldn’t it bother?” Irving said. “I understand if we fouled him, going to the free throw line.
“I don’t want to make a big deal out of it. Obviously, I was pissed at the game, but it’s time to decompress and move on. Congratulations to him having 48 points. He did it in a great fashion against us. Our defense has to be better, especially against a player like that in the pick-and-roll. He was the primary concern tonight and he made us pay in certain instances of making some tough shots and some tough layups.
“But the ball deserves to go in the crowd after a bulls— move like that. So I threw it in the crowd.”
The Celtics, losers of two straight, next play Thursday night in Phoenix.
Information from ESPN’s Tim Bontemps was used in this report.