Resigned to the villain's role in Boston, Dallas Mavericks star Kyrie Irving is less concerned with silencing hostile Boston Celtics fans than with quieting self doubt and leading his team in a must-win NBA Finals game.

"Let's just call it what it is," Irving said Sunday, as the Mavs prepared for Game 5, where they will try to once again to fend off elimination in the championship series, in which they trail the Celtics 3-1.

"When the fans are cheering 'Kyrie sucks' they feel like they have a psychological edge, and that's fair,'" said Irving, who was hounded by Celtics fans still rankled by his departure in 2019 after two seasons with the team.