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NBA - US Sports: Irving rules out excuses for Nets

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving says his team cannot afford to worry about their "identity" as they attempt to fight back against Boston Celtics.

The Nets trail the series 2-0 after a pair of defeats in Boston, ahead of Game 3 on Saturday, with Brooklyn 13/4 to win the series, while the Celtics are 5/1 to go all the way and win the NBA Championship outright.

Celtics strike late to take control

The Celtics needed a buzzer-beating lay-up from Jayson Tatum to claim a 115-114 victory in the series opener.

Brooklyn looked set to level the series as they held a 17-point lead in the second quarter of Game 2, but the Celtics raised their game after half-time and ultimately ran out 114-107 winners.

Boston outscored the Nets 29-17 in the final quarter and now hold a commanding lead in the series.

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The next two games take place in Brooklyn and Irving knows his team are still in contention, but he says they have no time for soul searching and simply have to figure out a way to beat the Celtics if they are to extend their post-season run.

"I believe we can do it. We've just got to show it," he said, via Mass Live. "This late in the season, even though I brought up team cohesion, it is what it is. We really have to turn the page and learn through our experiences right now."

Irving urges Nets to step up now

"We're going against a team together for what, the last four, five years. So they don't have to worry about that.

"And I don't want us to worry about it in this series and make excuses on why things are not going right for us. It's just time to strap up the boots and get the ammo ready."

Brooklyn beat the Celtics 4-1 in the play-offs last year, but they have now lost each of the last five games between the two sides, winning just one of their six meetings this season.

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