The Brooklyn nets star put up 60 points in a 150-108 blowout against the Orlando magic.
On Tuesday night, Irving eclipsed his previous career-high of 57 points set back in 2015 against the San Antonio Spurs during his tenure with the Cavs. The Nets guard had a 60-point masterclass in a 150-108 blowout win against the Orlando Magic. Irving, who is arguably the best show in professional basketball, displayed an insane level of skill and dexterity with elite ball handling, as well as his uncanny ability to finish at the rim over taller defenders with both hands at only 6’2. His speed, agility, and change of pace along with a midrange and 3-point shooting exhibition; Uncle Drew dazzled his way into a franchise record in points and a career high.
In just under 35 minutes, Kyrie had 60 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, and a block. He showed what it means to be a great scorer in this league with his display of efficiency with high volume shooting. Making 20 of his 31 field goal attempts, he shot 64.5% from the field, 8 of 12 from three (66.7%), and 12 of 13 from the free throw line (92.3%). His teammate and comrade Kevin Durant chipped in with an efficient 19 points and 7 assists.
Kyrie also set a franchise record of 41 first half points, and he did it in spectacular fashion. Watching his game just makes you wonder why he was left off the NBA 75th anniversary team. But that’s a question for a different day.
During his postgame interview, Irving said “When you can get 60 (points) in the flow of the game and it doesn’t seem forced and you’re not putting up a few too many bad shots and you come to the bench and guys are supporting you, telling you to go after the record, that makes basketball well worth it”.
This month of March has been one the best scoring stretches throughout the league in recent history. “As you see across the league, guys are putting up crazy numbers”, Irving said. An example is superstar teammate Kevin Durant Scoring 53 points on Sunday, one shy of tying his own career high as Irving watched courtside.
Irving did not play on Sunday against the Knicks due to his vaccination status. The New York vaccine mandate stated that unvaccinated players from the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks are not allowed to play home games if unvaccinated. Which allows Kyrie to only be available for road games. However, unvaccinated players from road teams are allowed to compete in the same building that home players can’t. On March 7th, New York City mayor Eric Adams lifted some of the city’s restrictions allowing unvaccinated players and fans to enter Barclays Center. This allowed Kyrie to be spectator for Nets home games, but still be ineligible for competition. Many believe this rule doesn’t make any sense, including Kevin Durant.
“It’s ridiculous” Durant said during his postgame interview on Sunday. “I don’t get it. It just feels like at this point now somebody’s trying to make a statement or a point to flex their authority. Everybody out here’s looking for attention. That’s what I feel the mayor wants right now, is some attention. But he’ll figure it out soon, he better”.
The NBA fined the Nets $50K for allowing Kyrie to enter his team’s locker room after Sunday’s game, even when they are allowed to practice together. Which raised further questions from players and fans.
Regardless, last night’s game was a statement performance as he has scored 50 or more points in two of his last 3 games. Despite the Brooklyn nets struggles with health, trades, and overall availability, which has placed them 8th in the eastern conference, Kyrie Irving put the league on notice and proved that if he’s available, they can get passed the play-in tournament and possibly make a title run. If the New York mandate changes and Kyrie can play, and Ben Simmons (2021 defensive player of the year candidate) recovers from his chronic back issues. No team wants to see the Brooklyn Nets with Kevin Durant in a playoff series.