Nets need Kyrie Irving to be super – not average – to win it all – The Mercury News

Kyrie Irving has to be awesome for the Nets to star in the NBA Finals.

That’s now the biggest two-game takedown at the Barclays Center after Mayor Adams created an exemption for unvaccinated professional athletes to play home games in New York City.

If Irving isn’t playing like a top-75 caliber player, the Nets might as well flush it down the toilet this season and pick it up again next season.

After all, superstar power is the foundation on which the Barclays Center is built. That’s why they traded all those picks and young players for James Harden – to form a Big 3 – and why they’re in a position to be the most feared No. 8 of all time. Because they have a legitimate Big 2, probably the biggest two in all of basketball.

Their chemistry was bruised, their limbs bruised, but as long as Irving and Kevin Durant shine like the stars they are, the Nets will always have a chance — even when the odds are as good as one play. banned from tournament performance.

Those odds are only intact if both Irving and Durant are in every game.

For the second game in a row, Irving was absent.

After just 16 points in the Nets’ recent loss to the Charlotte Hornets, Irving shot 7-of-18 from the field to score 24 points and turn the ball five times in the Nets’ 130-123 win over the Detroit Pistons. The Nets’ star guard looked gassed in several places, possibly all that part-time basketball rearing its head near the end of the regular season.

While Irving worked to find his footing, Durant shouldered the scorers’ burden. He accumulated 41 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, continuing his campaign for Most Valuable Player.

If only it weren’t for that MCL sprain that cost him a month and a half – and catapulted the Nets from first place in the East to eighth.

Durant kept bullying the Pistons’ defensemen, the lone possessor of one of the NBA’s most elusive shots: the unfazed, contested pull-up jump shot. He handed it to every Pistons player who dared switch to him, from center Isaiah Stewart to forward Saddiq Bey.

He hit Detroit defenders with a series of crossovers before making his way to the extended area of ​​the foul line. With one hand almost over the ball, Durant shot 14 of 23 from the field and 4 of 6 from downtown to walk off the foul line with a perfect nine of nine.

But despite Durant’s size, the Nets couldn’t break away from the Pistons (20-56) until the end of the fourth quarter. Brooklyn trailed by as much as 10 from a team tied for the worst record in the Eastern Conference.

A team the Nets won’t see in the playoffs. Instead, they will face one of the top two teams in the east in the first round, provided they complete the play-in tournament. Assuming Irving plays like a superstar in those sudden death games to keep the Nets from getting out early for a second straight year.

() Nets need Kyrie Irving to be super – not average – to win it all – The Mercury News

Joel McCord

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