Tuesday night (Mar.15), Brooklyn Nets superstar Kyrie Irving gave the world a glimpse of what he could do when he’s on the court. Too bad he can’t do this in front of actual Nets fans in Brooklyn.
The “voice for the voiceless” spoke loud and clear on the basketball court at Amway Center with his stellar play. A very fresh Irving followed Kevin Durant’s 53-point performance against crosstown rival the New York Knicks by dropping a career-high 60-points against the Orlando Magic. His performance also set a Nets franchise record. When Irving hit the 50-point mark, he and Durant became the first pair of teammates ever to do so in back-to-back games.
While the point total is worth marveling at, it’s how he got there that truly stands out. Irving toyed with the abysmal Orlando Magic’s guards early, scoring 41 points in the first half, putting him on pace to possibly eclipse his idol, Kobe Bryant’s 81-point masterpiece. In the first 23 minutes, Irving was the model of scoring efficiency, shooting 14-for-19 from the field, 6-for-7 from beyond the arc, and 7-for-7 from the free-throw line. It was indeed a sight to behold. Irving’s performance was so good that even the Magic fans joined the Nets fans in the building in applauding the guard.
As expected, the love fest came. “He’s just incredible,” Nets coach Steve Nash said to the press. “I felt like he had my career highlight reel in the first 12 minutes of the game. It’s special to watch him every night — but it’s special to watch him on nights like this, where he’s in total control, total command. He gets wherever he wants and is able to finish amongst the trees. It’s just a pleasure to see it up close and to be a part of it.”
“I’m sure in the first quarter y’all seen it developing,” Irving’s biggest cheerleader Kevin Durant said. “Sixteen in the first and then midway through the second all of us on the bench are still looking — it’s just like that every game for Ky, when you look up and, like, ‘Damn, he got 10, 12, 14 points already.”
“We seen he was well on his way to a high-scoring night, so 60 — the night after Karl Towns had an incredible performance, and then to have Kyrie do it the next night, the league is in an incredible place right now,” Durant concluded.
Speaking of Karl-Anthony Towns, he acknowledged Irving’s amazing night on Twitter, writing “Jersey putting up numbers,” referencing the fact that both are products of the state.
Even LeBron James chimed in, tweeting, “Ky stop it man!!! Actually don’t.”
NBA Twitter also reacted, of course, saluting Kyrie Irving for the greatness we only get to see when the Nets hit the road, unfortunately, because Irving refuses to get vaccinated.
We’re not sure if New York Mayor Eric Adams gives a damn about Irving not being able to play in home games because of the vaccine mandate still in place for private-sector employees. Seemingly responding to Kevin Durant telling him to “figure it out” when it comes to the mandate, Adams said Irving could play “tomorrow” if he got vaccinated, no lies detected there. Durant has since walked back his criticism of Adams. We wouldn’t be shocked if Momma Durant got in his ear and told him his comments following the game were insensitive.
Irving’s performance also could have been his way of sticking it to the league. The Brooklyn Nets were fined $50,000 for entering the locker room with the team after the Nets defeated the Knicks in Brooklyn. Irving could end this nightmare if he took the biggest shot of his career, the COVID-19 vaccine, but he’s standing firm in his ignorance on the matter.
You can peep more reactions to Irving’s historic 60-point performance in the gallery below.
Photo: Mark Brown / Getty