When Kevin Durant suffered an MCL sprain, sidelining him for 4-6 weeks, things looked rocky for the Brooklyn Nets, but the return of Kyrie Irving to the lineup is quickly rebuilding the team’s confidence.
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With the NBA’s leading scorer on the sidelines, Irving’s return to the Nets’ lineup couldn’t have come at a better time, and game by game, the shooting guard reminds the league how indefensible he can be in his day.
In their 119-118 road win over the Washington Wizards, Irving fended off defenders, worked his way to the rim and scored in bunches, finishing with a season-high 30 points and seven assists on 13-for-23 since. the field, including some timely plays down the stretch.
He makes it look easy@Kyrie Irving #NBAALLSTAR pic.twitter.com/bpYL6Dkxtt
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 20, 2023
His season-high combined with LaMarcus Aldridge’s 27 points helped keep the Wizards at bay and the veteran forward says having Irving back has been “fun” as well as making the game easier for his teammates.
“[He] he knows the game, he plays the game the right way, he gives me so many mid-range shots where guys aren’t even close to me,” Aldridge said after the game.
“I played more with him last year, I was there five games, my five games were more with him than anyone else, so I feel like our chemistry came out in those five games and I feel like this year we’ve gotten better.” where we left off. It’s been fun, he makes plays where you’re looking and you’re like a man… you’re glad he’s on your team.
“It’s been fun for me to have him back, just fun to watch him play.”
Kyrie Irving last 2 games:
30 PTS, 7 AST, 57 FG%
27 PTS, 9 AST, 52 FG%
Part-time Kyrie is still better than your favorite player. pic.twitter.com/JafXNzYCmu
— StatMuse (@statmuse) January 20, 2023
In his five games this season, Irving is averaging 22.0 points, 5.4 assists and 5.4 rebounds on 50 percent shooting and 33.3 percent from 3-point range.
With Durant set to sit on the sidelines, Irving maintaining this level of play will be crucial for the Nets to stay in the race for the top of the East standings, especially with 10 of their next 14 games on the road, all of which Irving will be on. available for, except for his February 16 visit to Madison Square Garden.
The Nets have gone 3-2 in the five games Irving has played, however, without him available for home games, they are 3-9 since he returned to the team. Despite his part-time availability, head coach Steve Nash is happy with what he’s seen so far.
“He’s great, what a pleasure to coach him and have him in our team for away games.” Nash said after the game. “Obviously he’s such an electric player, so talented, adding him to our team makes us better, he’s a pretty easy guy to try and fit in.
“Tonight was brilliant and was a big part of why we won.”