Kyrie-esque play holds Brooklyn down in his absence

VINCENT DAVIS | 3/5/2020, midnight
The Brooklyn Nets announced this week that star guard Kyrie Irving underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday to relieve the ...
Kyrie Irving Bill Moore photo

The Brooklyn Nets announced this week that star guard Kyrie Irving underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday to relieve the impingement to his right shoulder. The procedure was performed by Dr. Riley Williams III at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Irving will miss the remainder of this season.

This isn’t as sexy or trending as the confrontation between Spike Lee and the powers that be at Madison Square Garden, but Irving is expected to make a full recovery, and be ready for the upcoming 2020-2021 season.

Irving, who signed with the Nets during the off season, played in 20 games for Brooklyn. He averaged 27.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 1.4 steals in 32.9 minutes per game. Irving shot 47.8% from the field, 39.4% from three, and 92.2% from the free-throw line.

Irving scored 30-plus points in five games and dropped 50-plus points in two games, becoming the first Net player in the team’s franchise history to record multiple 50-point games.

Surgery was a last resort for Irving, who was given a cortisone shot on Christmas Eve in an effort to improve his condition. This season, the All-Star has also suffered through a medial ligament sprain to his right knee that also had him sidelined.

The Nets, whose season has been as inconsistent as Irving’s physical condition, are now solidly at the bottom of the playoff seeds, teetering up and down between the 7th and 8th seeded position with the Orlando Magic.

Holding Brooklyn down has been a variety of players on their roster, both starters and bench players.

Caris LeVert was the one to tear it up on Monday night, knocking down 51 points, Kyrie Irving-esque in Boston against the Celtics.

LeVert scored 26 points in the fourth quarter, 51 total by the team to help tie the game to take it to overtime. LeVert then scored all 11 of Brooklyn’s overtime points for the 129-120 win over Boston, the 3-seed in the Eastern Conference standings. Brooklyn had been down by 21 points in the second half.

At a loss for words about his team’s extraordinary end of game performance, head coach Kenny Atkinson noted how hard it was for him to even comment about what happened. “I’m trying to like, process it all: 51 points in the fourth quarter against a team like that.”

Teammate Kevin Durant described LeVert’s performance as a masterpiece. He tweeted, “That 50 was beautiful.”

Brooklyn will finish up the weekend with home games against the San Antonio Spurs tomorrow night, Friday, March 6, and the Chicago Bulls on Sunday afternoon, March 8, before embarking on a four-game road trip.