Kyrie Irving tries to tune out noise as recruitment begins at MSG

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(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Kyrie Irving always relishes playing in front of his hometown crowd and that group wasn’t shy about giving him some extra love during the Celtics’ 113-99 win on Friday night.

In the wake of a trade that sent former face of the franchise Kristaps Porzingis packing on Thursday, the Madison Square Garden faithful was eager to start recruiting one of their new targets early on Friday, cheering Irving during team intros and whenever he touched the ball. “We want Kyrie” chants also picked up steam on multiple occasions throughout the night.

“Everybody heard it,” Irving told reporters in New York after the victory. “I’m grateful for everybody identifying how talented I am, who wants to play with me, I’m appreciative, but at the end of the day, like I said this morning, I’m going to make the best decision for me and my family, and that’s how it’s going to go.”

Irving, who led the Celtics in points (23), rebounds (10), and assists (six) in the win, was continuously peppered with questions about the chants during his postgame press conference but also took a shot at all the speculation that has been swirling connecting him to the Knicks.

“It’s nothing but a distraction at this point,” Irving said of the chants. “Like I said, I’m appreciative of the fan support I get in any arena but of course coming back home obviously what’s going on in terms of that noise and commentary, it’s just a bunch of nonsense right now. You can’t do anything about it.”

Irving can complain about the nonsense speculation all he wants but this is arguably a mess that he made for himself.