“I’m not here to apologize” – The Mercury News

Kyrie Irving shot just 12 of 32 from the field in the Nets’ 122-115 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. Irving hasn’t shot the ball well in his last five games. Coincidentally, his dip in shooting comes after he was legalized to play full-time again.

The numbers speak for themselves: Irving shot just 9 of 22 in the Nets’ one-point overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks; 7 of 18 in a narrow seven-point win over the Detroit Pistons; 6-of-22 in his first home game of the season — a loss to the Charlotte Hornets — and 4-of-11 in the Nets’ road win over the Miami Heat.

That’s 38 hits from 105 field goal attempts and 17 of 45 three-pointers in his last five games. For those who aren’t the best at mental arithmetic, that’s 36% from the field and 38% from downtown.

For reference, Irving shot more than 50% from the field, 40% from three, and 90% from the foul line last season. Before Mayor Adams created the exemption, Irving averaged 28.5 points on 49.4% shots from the field and 43.8% shots from downtown.

Which begs the question: is Irving suffering from a drastic change in his work schedule? The all-star guard didn’t make his season debut until Jan. 5 — 36 regular-season games — and only played in five sets of consecutive games (including three-, four-, and five-game road trips) before qualifying. changed at Barclays Center.

This change in eligibility has got Irving on his feet more minutes, more days in a week, more weeks in a month and seems to be one reason his shooting has plummeted.

“Yes, it could be,” Irving agreed after missing 20 field goals in the loss to the Hawks. “I’m not going to rule it out, but I’m not here to make any excuses for why things aren’t going well for me on offense.”

Nets head coach Steve Nash was quick to defend Irving after shooting 7 of 18 against the Pistons and said Irving was two shots away from being over 50% but retracted those comments after his performance against the Hawks.

“I think Kyrie is getting used to playing every night, every other night now,” Nash said Saturday. “Maybe it’s not a classic of his, but he’s still 7-of-14 from three, 31 points, six assists, so you can’t complain too much. The guy had a big load to carry with all the guards from the lineup tonight. He will be fine.”

Whatever the reason for Irving’s burglary, he’s also a Muslim who observes Ramadan, which means he can’t eat or drink at sunrise and on the sidelines just after 8 p.m., as the sun went down in Atlanta seen eating fruit – the Nets need to snag him out of it. With four regular-season games remaining, the Nets find themselves 10th seeded in the Eastern Conference. If they do not finish 8th or better after those four games, they are eliminated in the first game of the play-in tournament.

They are in this position in part because Irving is unable to capture the recordings that he has done throughout his career. The Nets lost to the Hawks despite 55 points from superstar forward Kevin Durant. If Irving doesn’t show up, sooner or later they might go home.

“What a time to go to a shooting pool too,” he said. “I just want to get back out there so we don’t put so much pressure on No.7 [Durant], and it’s just better for our offense. So instead of starting the game 1-6, hopefully for the next couple of games I can get going in the first quarter, first half, and we can just calm down a bit.


https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/04/02/kyrie-irvings-shooting-slump-is-big-part-of-the-nets-struggles-im-not-here-to-make-any-excuses/ “I’m not here to apologize” – The Mercury News

Joel McCord

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