Kyrie Irving wasn’t mentioned on the TNT broadcast of Brooklyn’s season opener against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday until there were five minutes left in the second quarter, according to Nets Daily.
But his presence on the floor was missed immediately by the Nets.
Irving’s ability to create, his scoring prowess, his penchant for big buckets – all of it was missed by the Nets, who fell to the reigning champs 127-104 just about four months after the Bucks defeated the Nets in Game 7 of their second-round playoff series.
Leave it to Kevin Durant to give a sublte shoutout to his missing friend and teammate.
The Nets star and 2014 NBA MVP wore a version of his KD14s that were inspired by the “Dream” Kyrie 1s, according to Nick DePaula of ESPN.
DePaula called it K.D.’s way of giving a subtle shoutout to Kyrie.
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Adam Silver Weighs in on Irving
A New York mandate requires pro athletes on local teams to be vaccinated to play in public venues. Irving’s refusal to adhere to that mandate prompted the Nets to effectively ban him until he could be a full participant in team activities.
On Tuesday, ahead of the season opener, NBA commissioner Adam Silver chimed in with his thoughts on the Irving situation.
“I think it’s perfectly appropriate that New York and other cities have passed laws that require people who both work and visit arenas to be vaccinated,” Silver said, via CNN. “I hope that Kyrie, despite how strongly he feels about the vaccination, ultimately decides to get vaccinated because I would love to see him play basketball this season.
“And I’d love to see the Brooklyn Nets have their full complement of players on the floor.”
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Nets Tumble Without Kyrie
Kevin Durant had a double-double with 32 points and 11 rebounds, James Harden nearly had a triple-double with 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Patty Mills was a bright spot in his Nets debut shooting 7-for-7 from 3-point range.
But the Bucks still managed to bully the visitors on Tuesday. Brooklyn took 21 fewer shots than Milwaukee and grabbed 10 fewer rebounds.
“Wasn’t good, obviously,” Nets coach Steve Nash said of his team’s defense, per Newsday. “I thought we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. Probably weren’t as physical as we needed to be. Weren’t as organized as we needed to be. But at the same time, the one thing that disappointed me more than anything was loose balls, hustle plays. They seemed to win them all. We’ve got to make it more uncomfortable for people.
“The Bucks looked the same to me. If you’re not playing at a high level against the champs, you’re not going to win.”