Kyrie Irving Returns In Brooklyn Nets’ Double-Overtime Loss To Cleveland Cavaliers
On Wednesday, three superstars Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, played their first game together as the Brooklyn Nets lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers by a 147-135 in double-overtime. This game was also Irving’s first game in two weeks.
Irving, 28, has finally returned to the NBA after missing the Nets’ past seven games. Five of these absences were for personal reasons, and the other two were for conditioning. While he was away, the NBA fined Irving for violating coronavirus health and safety protocols by attending what seemed to be a family birthday party. He also lost over $800,000 on salary for the two games he missed as he quarantined.
“Always playing the game that I love, I am grateful,” Irving told ESPN after Wednesday’s tilt. “I never take it for granted. Then also to be playing with Kevin Durant, James Harden, just those names alone right now, just were having some fun.”
During Wednesday night’s game, Durant scored a team-high 38 points, and Irving scored 37. Harden had 21 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
From these numbers, it is clear that Brooklyn’s issues didn’t stem from their offense, but the Nets need to improve their defense. The team could not stop Collin Sexton in the overtime periods, as the 22-year old scored 20 consecutive points for Cleveland to end his career-high 42-point game.
Brooklyn’s defensive struggles were evident throughout the entire game. After the Nets had a double-digit lead in the first quarter, the Cavs went on a 17-0 run that went into the second quarter and built a nine-point advantage. Harden didn’t score his first point until the final minute of the first half when Larry Nance Jr. fouled him. Harden then sank two free throws.
Harden and Durant both played over 50 minutes. Harden finished a career-high 50 minutes and 30 seconds while Irving wound up playing a career-high 48 minutes, 22 seconds. The Nets will play the Cavs again in Cleveland on Friday.