The Brooklyn Nets faced off against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland. This meant part-time point guard Kyrie Irving was available to participate in the contest. This season has started as one of the slowest for the Nets guard since he entered the league. Irving is averaging just 17.6 points per game since his return.
Against the Cavs, Irving had his best game of the year so far. He scored a season-high 27 points, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds while shooting 52% from the field. But in the end, Irving’s big night proved to be insufficient as Cleveland would seal a clutch 114-107 victory against Brooklyn. James Harden contributed 22 points on 5/12 shooting from the field but had a plus/minus of –18. Harden’s lackluster performance in addition to the absence of Kevin Durant who is out with a left MCL sprain proved to be the demise of the Nets in the loss.
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Nets Kyrie Irving Has Heated Exchange With Cavs Fan
During the game Irving, a former 1st overall pick and 2011 Rookie of the Year with the Cavaliers, was addressed by a heckling fan in the crowd. A barrage of comments was hurled at the Nets guard which he initially ignored. But the more the fan antagonized Irving, the angrier he grew. Eventually Kyrie decided to respond to the fan.
“Got y’all a championship, and you m************ still ungrateful,” Irving said to the fan.
Kyrie Had Controversial Split From Cavaliers
Irving was a member of the 2016 Cavaliers. A team that made history and came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. He was Cleveland’s second-leading scorer behind Finals MVP LeBron James. Irving also hit arguably the most clutch shot in NBA Finals history in Game 7 that led to them knocking off the defending champs.
That following offseason, Irving requested a trade from the Cavaliers. Many speculated that the complicated relationship between he and LeBron James could have been the cause, as rumors arose about him not wanting to be viewed as LeBron’s “son”, a claim reported by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.
“‘Kyrie isn’t saying he’s better than LeBron and should be seen that way,’ a close confidant of Irving’s told me. ‘He’s saying he’s not about to let LeBron ‘SON’ him … treating him like he’s the child and LeBron’s the father or big brother he’s supposed to look up to,” Smith wrote for “The Undefeated” in 2017.
In the end, the reported friction between LeBron and Kyrie led to their split after three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals. That August the Cavaliers shipped Irving to the Boston Celtics in a blockbuster deal. The Cavaliers did return to the Finals without him in 2018. However they were clearly not the same team as they were swept 4-0 by the Warriors in dominating fashion.
Irving is not the only player in the league to experience heckling from fans. In fact, he is not even the only player on his team to have such an experience. Kyrie’s All-star teammate Kevin Durant is notorious for interacting with members of the crowd in an vulgar manner. Last month, he was fined $25,000 for telling a fan “Shut yo a** up m******er” after the fan told him to stop crying. It will be interesting to see if the league hands a similar sanction down to Irving.