Kyrie Irving returned from an extended absence by the Brooklyn Nets in the team’s game against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.
Despite not having played in months, it seemed like he hadn’t missed a beat.
He finished with 22 points (9 of 17 shooting from the field), four assists, three rebounds and three steals in just 32 minutes as the Nets snapped a three-game streak, coming back from 19 points to beat the Pacers at their home floor. 129-121.
It was just last week that Irving, who recently broke out of the league’s health and safety protocols, practiced with his teammates for the first time since the first week of training camp in San Diego in early October.
Head coach Steve Nash said at the time that Irving looked good despite missing so much basketball.
“It looks great considering he just got out of protocol and hasn’t played basketball,” Nash told reporters. “How do you recover from today? How many high intensity [practices] Do you need to feel comfortable, safe? “
It was a slow start to the game from Irving, he took and missed the first shot of the game, but we had the answer to Nash’s question early in the second quarter when Irving hit his first basket of the game less than a minute into the game. the game. bedroom.
Though he was scoreless in the first quarter with two turnovers, from the second period, he resembled the Irving of yesteryear by hitting his places as he worked his handles and shot around the basket. At one point, he had all eight second-quarter points for the Nets in a two-minute span.
He ended the third quarter with a shot that hit the bell and scored ten points in the fourth quarter alone.
“It is not ideal, this situation we are in, but we are going to fight and we are going to do everything to stay together,” he said after the game.
“It felt amazing, it’s been a long time. It’s been months, so just to come back here, playing Indiana, we just wanted to come out with a tough attitude.”
Irving, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, is not eligible to play in Brooklyn home games under New York City’s vaccination mandate, but is eligible to play in 22 more Nets games this season. as things are.
The next game Irving is eligible to play is Monday in Portland against the Trail Blazers as part of the Nets’ short two-game road trip.