Kyrie is cooking. The star free-agent had a breathtaking opening night performance for the Brooklyn Nets, scoring 50 points and committing zero turnovers.
Kyrie is also the first player to post a stat line of at least 50 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and zero turnovers since turnovers were first recorded as a stat during the 1977-78 season, according to NBA Stats.
It was a show-stopping debut for Kyrie, the only thing missing was a win. The Nets fell to the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-126 in overtime as Irving missed the potential game-winning shot in the final seconds.
Despite the loss, it’s clear Kyrie feels right at home in Brooklyn and should be a scoring force for the Nets this season, who need all the help they can get considering Kevin Durant will be sidelined until 2020 with a torn Achilles.
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Kyrie’s Big Night
Early in the game, it became clear Kyrie was locked in. In fact, with 2:44 remaining in the first half, Irving was still outscoring the rest of his team, 23-20. He is the first Nets player since Deron Williams in 2012 to score 50 or more points in a game.
At one point, after a fast-break layup, Kyrie counted how many defenders it took to try and guard him.
After the game, there was a huge media scrum surrounding Kyrie, who said all the right things following a loss, thanking his teammates for picking him up after he missed the final shot.
“They’re ready to protect you from anything and everything,” Kyrie told reporters after the game.
The most frustrating part for Kyrie and Nets fans was this sensational performance was not backed up with a win.
“None of that matters unless you get the win. The race is to get as many wins as you can,” said Irving, “I fell. I was in the process of making another move and just lost my footing, lost my balance. Somehow I got it back and just got to get my elbow pointed at the rim,” Irving told reporters after the loss.
Kyrie’s Acrobatic Final Shot
With the Nets trailing by one in the final seconds of overtime, everyone at Barclays Center knew who was taking the last shot. Kyrie was unable to knock down the potential game-winner, but he did so in spectacular fashion.
While trying to dribble around Twolves defender Josh Okogie, Irving slipped and fell, but was able to keep his dribble and still got off a good shot.
Here’s a look at the game’s final play:
After the game, Kyrie said the acrobatics were not planned.
“I was in the process of making another move and just lost my footing, lost my balance. Somehow I got it back and just got to get my elbow pointed at the rim,” Kyrie told reporters.
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