Following their win over the number-two-seed Milwaukee Bucks in their last contest, people were interested to see how the Brooklyn Nets would perform against another Eastern Conference powerhouse, the Cleveland Cavaliers, on December 26. Despite being without two of their top sharpshooters, Seth Curry and Joe Harris, the Nets were able to come out victorious against the star-studded Cavaliers.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving negated a 46-point explosion from Cavaliers All-Star point guard Darius Garland as both Nets stars netted 32-point performances in Brooklyn’s 125-117 victory. With that win, the Nets have won nine straight games and have officially taken possession of the number three seed in the Eastern Conference. The Nets are now 13-1 in their last 14 games, which warranted some strong reactions from people on Twitter.
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Kyrie Irving Reflects on Time With Cavaliers
Going to Cleveland to take on one of the conference’s top juggernauts meant something to each player on the Nets roster, but for Kyrie, the return was a little more sentimental. If you don’t know, Irving was drafted by the Cavaliers in 2011 and made three trips to the NBA Finals with the franchise, winning the lone title of his career in 2016.
Kyrie’s departure from the Cavaliers in a blockbuster trade that sent him to the Boston Celtics in 2017, was highly publicized and met with a lot of backlash from fans, as the move perceivably came out of nowhere. However, Irving says that his departure from the franchise is not in vain because the lessons he learned as a member of the Cavs prepared him for the journey he is on with this Nets squad.
“It took all those times for me to [go] through being here in Cleveland to achieve something special,” Irving told reporters following his 32-point performance. “That’s what I’m on a journey to do now with this team here in Brooklyn.”
Kendrick Perkins Praises Jacque Vaughan
There was a lot of speculation surrounding this current Nets’ winning streak. Before last weekend, most of the teams they had beaten were missing their best player or not good enough to compete. But after beating the Bucks and Cavaliers in back-to-back games, there is no doubt that the Nets are contenders.
The turning point of the season for Brooklyn came on November 1 when the franchise decided to part ways with Steve Nash after a 2-5 start. Upon Nash’s firing, there was speculation that Brooklyn would hire suspended Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka. But ultimately, they decided to transition interim head coach Jacque Vaughan into a full-time role.
Brooklyn clearly made the right decision because their record under Vaughan is 20-6, and they have gone from a borderline lottery team to one of the best teams in the NBA. ESPN NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins believes Vaughan should have been the Nets coach a long time ago.
“2 words… Jacque Vaughn. That locker room is competing for him, and the Brooklyn Nets are serious ladies and gentlemen. Maybe he should’ve been the guy all along! Carry on,” Perkins tweeted on December 26.
The Nets can extend their winning streak to 10 games in their next game against the Atlanta Hawks.