Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving had his best game of the season on January 29 against the Golden State Warriors. The seven-time All-Star went off for 32 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in 39 minutes of action while shooting 9-of-21 from the field and 3-of-8 from beyond the arc.
Despite Irving’s stellar game, though, the Nets lost to the Warriors by a final score of 110-106. However, it was certainly good for Brooklyn fans to see Irving have a productive outing against a team the Nets could face in the NBA Finals. The Duke product not only dominated his matchup against Stephen Curry, who finished with 19 points on just 5-of-18 shooting from the floor, but he also reminded the league how elite his killer instinct is.
Irving Didn’t Let Boos From Warriors Fans Affect Him
Irving was booed by Warriors fans during pregame introductions. Some players can get rattled when opposing fans boo them, but not Irving, who has a history with Dub Nation.
“We know each other well. This crowd out here, we know each other very well,” Irving said after the Nets-Warriors game, via NBC Bay Area. “It’s not any surprise when I come in here, a different arena obviously, but it’s still the same core group of fans that have a reason to cheer for their team, they’re very successful.”
Irving faced the Warriors in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Finals when he was on the Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron James. Uncle Drew hit the game-winning shot over Curry in Game 7 at Oracle Arena, clinching the Cavaliers’ first championship in franchise history. Irving has averaged 27.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 13 Finals games against the Warriors and Dub Nation will likely never forgive him for the 3-pointer he sank over Curry in 2016.
Irving is a historian and student of the game, so he cherishes the matchups he’s had and will continue to have against the Warriors, who are title contenders once again after missing the playoffs in 2019 and 2020.
Irving Enjoys Facing Warriors
Irving has a ton of respect for the Warriors organization. The one-time champion seemingly takes his game to another level when Golden State is his opponent and felt good about competing against Curry and Klay Thompson again.
“We’ve had a lot of battles and like I said I give a lot of respect to those legends in the locker room down there,” Irving said postgame. “We’re all relatively young still, but we’re making impacts on our teams. It’s good to see Klay back out there. And it just makes the game a lot more fun when you’re going against familiar guys that you’ve been going against in the Finals, the regular-season matchups, so it feels good.”
Irving remains unvaccinated against COVID-19. However, he was allowed to play at the Chase Center because San Francisco’s mandatory vaccine mandate doesn’t apply to players on opposing teams. If the Nets and Warriors meet in the Finals, Irving would be able to play at the Chase Center but not at the Barclays Center.
The Nets were once in first place in the Eastern Conference standings. However, they dropped to sixth place after losing to the Warriors and are 4-6 in their last 10 games. With Kevin Durant out for the foreseeable future due to a knee injury and James Harden dealing with a wrist ailment, Irving will have to continue to put his Superman cape on the road for the Nets to stay afloat.