Celtics fans pack the TD Garden for first-ever watch party, boo Mavericks’ Kyrie Irving



As the Celtics and Mavericks took the floor in Dallas, fans booed loudly when Kyrie Irving was shown on the TD Garden jumbotron ahead of Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

When the NBC Sports Boston pregame show went to a commercial break fans started chanting “Let’s Go Celtics,” and cheered when the arena board displayed Jaylen Brown highlights from the first two games of the series.

Celtics fans, packing the Garden for the arena’s first-ever watch party, didn’t skip a beat in rooting for their hometown team, as Boston looked to take a commanding 3-0 series lead.

Loud boos rained down when the jumbotron showed Iriving’s Game 1 post-game comment, “I thought it was going to be a little louder in here” – the same reaction that fans expressed Sunday before Game 2.

Bob Mauritz, a Norfolk native, and his wife Christie drove from South Carolina to soak in the environment. Despite the distance between home and the Garden, Mauritz said they go to Celtics games “all the time,” but they’ve never been to a playoff game.

“Being in South Carolina, we go to away games – Charlotte, Atlanta, Orlando – and it’s not the same as being here,” Mauritz said. “It shows how fanatic fans are here.”

For the first time in Garden history, fans were invited to pack the arena for watch parties, featuring the same in-game entertainment festivities as live Celtics home games – concession stands, Lucky the Leprechaun, and in-game fan activations.

The Garden will also host a party for Game 4 on Friday. If the series stretches to a Game 6, next Thursday, fans will have to go elsewhere as the the arena is already booked for a concert.

Ticket prices soared on the secondary market after the parties sold out on Ticketmaster in a flash last week. Dozens of listings on StubHub were going for well over $150 ahead of Wednesday’s tilt.

Roughly 1,800 tickets were set to be distributed to local charities.

Ahead of the party, Garden officials lowered the jumbotron and removed floor seating, setting up a large stage in a corner for Celtics dancers and Lucky.

“You see other cities in the country doing watch parties,” said Jim, who declined to provide his last name and brought his 11-year-old son Cayden to the Garden, “It’s about time we caught on with it. We have the best fanbase in the whole world. We love our sports teams here. It makes it affordable to bring your kid. That’s the great thing about it.”

Jim said he hopes watch parties become the norm in the future.

The parties – an idea that Garden officials had pondered for the past decade – came to fruition when Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs and Mayor Michelle Wu pushed the conversation earlier this year, President Glen Thornborough told the Herald last week.

“It’s a huge undertaking for our TD Garden staff to get ready for the national spotlight – including Watch Parties,” a fact sheet provided to reporters read. “It takes about 1,500 full-time and part-time employees to produce a game night.”

Long Island resident Cole Gaccione said there was no way he’d miss a watch party after learning about the opportunity last week. He drove up to Boston Wednesday morning with his friend Jesse Barnstone. They said they’re “born-and-raised” Celtics fans.

“$18 tickets for this? I was like ‘Jesse, we’re going, we’re driving up,’” Gaccione said.

Barnstone called the watch party a big draw, especially for the “community and people who aren’t as fortunate who can’t normally go to Celtics games.”

“I was a little young for the 2008 championship so this would be just an amazing experience to witness it in person in any capacity,” Barnstone said.



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