Kyrie Irving was irresistible on Monday night against the Kings with 40 points, and James Harden absolutely enjoyed his game.
Irving has been a consistent 20-30 point scorer for most of this young NBA season. But last night, he unlocked his top gear for perhaps the first time this season.
Ordinarily, Irving waits until the 4th quarter to really go into takeover or shot-forcing mode. But he signaled his intent right off the bat last night, opening the game with 2 made 3-pointers. The first of those was a shot from the top of the key, showing the Kings they could do nothing to guard him.
Also Read: “Anthony Davis got fined $100,000, but a team can say he’s being traded?”: Draymond Green goes on epic rant over double standards in treatment of players and teams after Warriors’ win over Cavs
Irving kept up the intensity through the first 3 quarters. The Nets held a 107-86 advantage to start the 4th, in which he only played a couple of minutes before riding the bench. This game still finished as a season-high for the 28-year-old.
James Harden heaps praise on Kyrie Irving for his 40-point outburst
James Harden had himself an easy triple-double in the effort, reaching the milestone in the 3rd quarter. This was his 5th triple-double in 15 appearances for the Nets. It took Harden to second on the Nets’ all-time triple-double charts with the likes of Shawn Bradley.
Harden had himself 29 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists to finish the game. But even the 2018 MVP knew that it was Irving’s night – Kyrie did make 9 of his 11 3-pointers. He lavished the praise on Kyrie in the postgame presser:
“It’s a movie. It’s like a show. Sometimes, I forget I’m on the court. He makes them so effortless. One of the reasons why I’m here. He makes the game so easy for the rest of the team.”
James Harden on Kyrie Irving’s 40-point game: “It’s a movie. It’s like a show. Sometimes, I forget I’m on the court. He makes them so effortless. One of the reasons why I’m here. He makes the game so easy for the rest of the team.” pic.twitter.com/W7tWEcOphw
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) February 16, 2021
Kyrie will be looking to ride this momentum till the time that KD is missing in action. It is unclear whether Durant will be back from a hamstring problem in time for their game against the Lakers. The Lakeshow themselves will be missing AD for this marquee matchup – now marred.