The Celtics executed their game plan tremendously throughout the entire series, as they successfully got under the skin of Kevin Durant and severely limited his effectiveness.
Fingers were pointed at none other than Kyrie Irving following the sweep, as many blamed him for how the Nets' season ended.
His unwillingness to get vaccinated against Covid-19 held him to less than 30 games all season, and by the time the New York City mandate was lifted, it was too late for the Nets to gather the continuity necessary for making a deep play-off run.
Irving has the option to become an unrestricted free agent this off-season, should he opt out of the final year of his contract.
Several signs suggest that the 30-year-old plans to do just that. However, many also believe that his friendship with Durant secures his future in Brooklyn. Trouble is, Nets general manager Sean Marks doesn't seem ready to commit to him long-term just yet.
"We're looking for guys that want to come in here and be part of something bigger than themselves, play selfless, play team basketball and be available," Marks said. "And that goes not only for Kyrie but for everybody here."
While Irving is an otherworldly talent on the floor, those are fair concerns raised by Marks.
If Irving is unavailable, despite being fully healthy to play, and has other motives in his personal life that prevents him from being around the team on a consistent basis, then his on-court play can only do so much for this franchise.
If the Nets' recent play-off performance suggested anything, it's that no matter how talented your two best players are, continuity still matters.
What's the case for keeping Kyrie?
Irving's unvaccinated status was an unwelcome distraction all season long. There is no doubt about that.
However, when Irving came back, nothing else he did around the team suggested that he was an unwelcome presence around the team.
He played hard, night in and night out, putting up high-scoring performances on high-level efficiency, including a 60-point game on 20-of-31 shooting against the Orlando Magic in March.
He made the most of his time on the court and brought an energy that was missing in his absence.
Assuming the mandate is officially gone, there should be nothing that prevents Irving from taking the floor moving forward.
Marks definitely has fair concerns, and it'll take a meeting between the two parties to ensure that they're both on the same page moving forward, but Kyrie is still a big part of what's going on in Brooklyn.