Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving has a tough job ahead of him for at least the next month. With Kevin Durant out for one month because of a sprained MCL in his right knee, Irving has to find a way to keep the team afloat while trying to make up for the 30 points per game that leaves with Durant for the time being.
Irving’s first chance to see how he would handle the task did not go as intended. In Thursday’s 109-98 loss to the Boston Celtics, Irving scored 24 points, but it came on 9-of-24 shooting from the field and 3-of-11 shooting from behind the three-point line. Irving started the game well as he was able to string successful offensive possessions together, but in the second half, Boston’s defense was too much for Irving and the Nets to overcome.
After scoring 57 points in the first half, Brooklyn scored just 41 points in the second half as Boston limited them to 39% shooting from the field. Irving discussed how the Celtics’ defense became more stout in the second half of the disappointing loss:
“They picked up their pressure, they started off that fourth quarter with a flurry of baskets and we called timeout. So, they (the Celtics) won the race to get the fourth quarter started off aggressive. Few times calls could have gone either way. And, the results ended up where they are and feel like we definitely could have taken some better shots, and in the fourth quarter got some defensive stops, but didn’t happen for us tonight. And when you give up any opportunities for them to capitalize and they’re a great team, they’re gonna do so.”
Irving had six assists in the contest, but had a +/- of -11 during his time on the floor.
Player grades: Kyrie Irving scores 24 in Nets’ 109-98 loss to the Celtics
NBA Twitter reacts to Nets’ 109-98 loss to the Boston Celtics