All he needs is a little rest.
For the first time since becoming a full-time player, Kyrie Irving threw the Rockets a barrage of trays to beat the Nets 118-105 over Houston on Tuesday.
Irving scored 11 points in the start period and finished with 42 when shooting 8 out of 16 from the center and 13 out of 24 when shooting from the field as a whole. It was one of his more effective games in the final stage of the season, a game that got the right shots for the superstar guard, who had a hard time scoring in his last games.
“Kai was huge for us tonight,” Bruce Brown said. “If we didn’t have Kaya tonight, I don’t think we would win this game. He did everything for us, brought energy, and he had 42 points and plus 21. So everything he did for us was huge. ”
And it was a much-needed victory for the Nets, who are still at the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoffs, still struggling for their livelihoods in the playoffs, still facing relegation – potentially missing the playoffs altogether. off – if they lose too many games in the next seven days.
But in Brooklyn it’s one game, one day at a time. And on Tuesday, the Nets secured a victory that rose from 10th to 9th place.
It is almost incomprehensible. The self-proclaimed contender for the championship with two top scorers-superstars and future members of the Hall of Fame is delighted with the victory over the young, inexperienced and athletic team “Rockets”, which fell to the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
But that’s the state of affairs at the Barclays Center, where the season set for the championship went awry, and quickly, in the middle of the year. First, it was Irving’s decision not to do vaccinations that prevented him from playing at the Barclays Center. Then it was Kevin Durant’s MCL mid-season stretch that forced James Harden to take the load on his own. Harden then refused to do so and was forced to move to Philadelphia until Durant was injured and Irving was still allowed to play only away. It was a recipe for disaster, a series of very unfortunate events that sent the Nets in a spiral from first places in the East with a record of 27-15 and are now fighting for the right to call themselves a playoff team.
If they are going to be more than just a contender – or, as some would call it, a contender – their chances begin to grow in tandem with Irving’s dominance. Since returning to the regular regime after Mayor Adams created an exception for unvaccinated professional athletes in New York City, Irving has scored just 38 of his first 105 goals. In the disappointing defeat of the Nets by the Atlanta Hawks, he missed far more shots (20) than he did (12).
It was a sharp turn to the left for stellar offensive talent that many considered unfriendly for the NBA’s top 75 list, a player who scored 60, 50 and 43 points in games that led to an exception.
“This game is going up and down,” the Nets star guard said after Tuesday’s shootout. “It’s a pretty good time to go through a mini-recession in shooting or shooting, which I don’t usually do, but the confidence is there. I will just keep working out in the gym and focus on what I can control. ”
Tuesday night was more reminiscent of those spectacular games for Irving, who put icing on the cake as he spun around Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr., shifted Houston’s big man Alperan Sengun by uncertain dribbling, and then moved his hand over his head in front of his head. in the air to finish with the left.
In the first game in a row Irving gained most of the mileage. Durant played the game mostly on cruise control. In 36 minutes of the game he scored 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
This is the problem that these Nets have been facing all season. Against the Rockets with the worst performance in the NBA, the Nets increased their lead by 21 points in the third quarter, only to have Houston cut it to nine in a few minutes in the fourth. The Nets are fighting the same young, athletic and free-spirited teams as the Rockets. Kevin Porter Jr. finished with 36 points, and rookie Jalen Green added 28. The Nets also had a number of unforced errors that they will also need to correct in the next film. They flipped the ball 16 times, resulting in 25 points for Houston from the gifts.
“We’ve been in such lulls when we kind of say it back and forth, when we haven’t made a hit in the attack and the teams continue to kill us,” Irving said. “So, it’s not time to hold your head, it’s not time to look back. No time to wait for the crowd to get into it. We just really need to make an impression on the game and I felt it was necessary.
“And when the game starts to get a little out of control or we have a big advantage, and when we let it go, it’s time to put our foot back on the gas pedal and set an example. So that’s what happened. “
The Nets will take the bad along with the good, the good is a win that lifts them up in the standings. Good game for Irving, who used to fight off the field. And it’s good that the positive momentum for the first time for what seems like forever for the champion team is barely holding up in the playoffs.