Kyrie Irving helped the Brooklyn Nets do something they haven’t done in the team’s previous three games, win. Yesterday in Irving’s debut with Nets, he finished with 22 points in Brooklyn’s 129-121 win over the Indiana Pacers.
Not only did he post 22 points, but he also dropped four assists, three rebounds and three steals in 32 minutes. The Nets, who were struggling right before Irving’s, return, trailed by 19 points. That’s when Kyrie reminded us why he’s one of the best players in the game. Down the stretch, the 6’2″ shooting guard delivered crucial buckets to cut the lead and eventually get the win.
After the game, Irving admitted to being nervous in his return but said he was just happy to be on the floor after missing the first three months of the year.
“Just a lot of gratitude just to be present tonight with everyone,” Irving said. “Just go out there and have fun doing what we love to do. It was a not-so-good first half for us, and we came in the locker room and we knew that in order to build this identity that we want to have later in the season we got to start now.”
Irving, who isn’t vaccinated against COVID-19, making him ineligible to play in home games because of New York City’s vaccine mandate, wasn’t on the floor to start the season because the Nets decided before the season that they didn’t want to have a part-time player. However, after a COVID-19 outbreak decimated the Nets’ roster, the decision was made to allow Irving to rejoin the team as a player who could participate only in road games.
A reporter asked Irving if he planned on getting the vaccine in the future, and he said he’s just taking it one day at a time.
“Man, I’m just taking it one day at a time,” he said. “Like I said earlier in the season, it’s not an ideal situation and I’m always praying that things get figured out and we’re able to come to some collective agreement, whether it be with the league or it’s just things that’s going on that could help kind of ease what we’re all dealing with COVID-19 and the vaccine.