Kyrie Irving was unable to get a win in his regular season debut for the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, as they fell 127-126 in overtime, but it wasn’t due to his own efforts.
In just over 38 minutes played against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Irving scored 50 points on 17-33 shooting from the field, including 7-14 from 3-point range. He also posted eight rebounds and a team-high seven assists, all while not turning the ball over once.
Irving nearly won the game for the Nets with a wild, circus shot, but came up just short. While Irving was disappointed not to get the win, he was able to step back and enjoy the moment given what this particular day means to him. One year ago from Wednesday, Irving lost his grandfather, George Larson, and after the game, Irving said his grandfather helped him realize what he wanted his priorities to be on and off the court (via Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News):
“Yesterday was a little harder than this just talking to my grandmother, talking to my dad, talking to my sister,” Irving said after missing the potential game-winner in the Nets’ 127-126 overtime loss to the Timberwolves on Wednesday night. “But today, I made a conscious choice when I woke up just to be grateful for the day and every day going forward.
“Just had to make a choice just to be happy out there. My grandfather would only want it that way. He was my biggest fan over when he was in Washington, and he was definitely in there tonight. I felt him, and I know he’s gonna be with me the whole entire journey of this season and moving forward.”
Irving said his grandfather is going to be a motivating force in his first season back home in the tri-state area.
“My grandfather would only want it that way,” Irving said. “He was my biggest fan over when he was in Washington, and he was definitely in there tonight. I felt him, and I know he’s gonna be with me the whole entire journey of his season and moving forward.”
After a disappointing run in Boston with the Celtics last season, it seems that Irving is ready to turn the page and start a new chapter with the Nets, and he’ll do it with his grandfather in mind.