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Danny Ainge won’t blame Kyrie Irving for Celtics’ rough 2018-19 season

Many believe that Kyrie Irving’s mercurial behavior played a significant role in how the Boston Celtics’ 2018-19 season fell well short of expectations. Danny Ainge is not one of them.

In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that aired Tuesday morning on “SportsCenter,” the Celtics president of basketball operations declined to blame Irving for last season’s disappointing campaign. Instead, Ainge pointed the finger at himself.

“Kyrie’s first year-and-a-half was terrific for us and I really liked and was hopeful that it was gonna be a successful marriage going forward, but he really wanted to go home,” Ainge said. “That’s his choice and I don’t know why he gets all the blame. I’m the one who should be blamed for last year. We put a team together that just didn’t have pieces that fit. We had a lot of talent, a lot of expectations — but it’s certainly not Kyrie’s fault.”

Ainge has repeatedly gone out of his way to avoid disparaging Irving, both during the superstar’s tumultuous two-season tenure, as well as when the point guard was contemplating his future this past offseason.

Irving’s departure probably was the best outcome for both himself and the Celtics, although a change of scenery for the superstar evidently hasn’t changed his enigmatic ways all that much since signing with the Brooklyn Nets.

Interestingly, the Nets are set to play in Boston on Wednesday, but Irving won’t make his TD Garden debut in a Brooklyn uniform due to a shoulder injury. In fact, he may not even be in the arena, which will deny Celtics fans the opportunity to boo him, which Ainge incidentally said last week would be in poor form.