Kyrie Irving’s 50-point night carries Brooklyn into new era as Nets fall short in overtime


Final: 10/23/2019

L 126 127

Nets All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.
File photo

It’s a new season, but it all feels the same. 

Wednesday night marked the beginning of a new era for the Brooklyn Nets. With Kyrie Irving on the court and Kevin Durant in the wings, the team that fans had been salivating over all summer laid before their eyes. But the daydreams of the sold-out Barclays Center crowd were quickly replaced by grimaces as the growing pains of the new roster made themselves apparent.

Irving dazzled with just the seventh 50-point game in Nets history, but the overtime loss and missed opportunities were all too familiar. 

The game started on the right foot as Irving torched the Minnesota Timberwolves for 25 points in the first half, but Brooklyn’s problems arose when he went to the bench. The backup backcourt of Spencer Dinwiddie and Garrett Temple struggled to find a rhythm as they shot 33 percent for nine points combined, including Dinwiddie’s spectacular buzzer-beater to end the half.

Coming out of the break, the Nets cleaned up their rim finishes and defensive woes and quickly closed the 12-point gap in a run that thrilled an anxious crowd. The game remained tight down the stretch, but a plethora of fourth-quarter turnovers did not do Brooklyn any favors.

An intense duel between Karl-Anthony Towns and Irving resulted in a contest that was tied 115-115 with 2.6 seconds left to play. Jarrett Allen had a chance to take the lead at the line, but missed both free throws. Andrew Wiggins got off a last-second prayer, but it clanked off the front of the rim to bring the game to overtime.

The extra period was tight down the wire as both teams traded blows, but the Nets found themselves with the ball while down by one point on the final possession. Irving forced the isolation against Josh Okogie, but as he put a spin move on the defender, he lost his footing, fell to the court and nearly lost the ball in the process.

Incredibly, Irving regathered the ball and got a shot off as the clock expired. The crowd roared as it sailed through the air, but then it clanked off the rim, slightly to the right. 

It would have been an epic moment to cap Irving’s record-breaking debut. He set the record for most points by an NBA player in a team debut, but the team’s slow start and mistakes down the stretch led the Nets to an OT loss to start the season.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The team hitting just 57 percent of its free throws and racking up 16 turnovers and 30 fouls may be a familiar sight, but the story of the night makes it all the more exciting for Nets fans: Irving is here, and he’s already making a statement in Brooklyn.

Kyrie Irving


The stats: 50 PTS, 17-33 FG, 7-14 3PT, 8 REB, 7 AST, 1 BLK, 0 TO

Kyrie Irving did nothing but impress in his Brooklyn debut.

He set the record for the highest-scoring Nets (and NBA) debut ever and nearly led the team in plus-minus while narrowly missing out on the triple-double. He played just as well as advertised and then some — but fell just short of the finish line.

Caris LeVert


The stats: 20 PTS, 9-19 FG, 1-4 3PT, 5 REB, 4 AST, 3 STL, 5 TO

Caris LeVert is emerging as a rock-solid second option, as expected this season.

The longest-tenured member of the roster has big shoes to fill this season while Durant recovers, and his efforts Wednesday were a great start. The five turnovers were a bit concerning, but likely an outlier considering he averaged 1.7 per game last year. He did a bit of everything, and as the chemistry with Irving develops, so too could this backcourt into something special.

Taurean Prince


The stats: 15 PTS, 6-13 FG, 2-5 3PT, 11 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 1 BLK, 0 TO

Taurean Prince could become the unsung hero of this team.

It’s not often a player gets a contract extension before playing a minute for his team, but Prince made it look like a sound investment from the Brooklyn front office with his play Wednesday night. He found his spots in the offense without wasting possessions and was no slouch on defense either, as his rebounding prowess will bolster one of Allen’s weaknesses.

The Net may have finally found the power forward they’ve been searching for.

Jarrett Allen


The stats: 6 PTS, 3-6 FG, 0-4 FT, 9 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 5 BLK, 0 TO

Jarrett Allen didn’t showcase anything outside what Nets fans have already seen — and that’s concerning. 

Simply put, Allen had a chance to put this game away and fell short. There were many factors that contributed to the Nets being in that position, but he can’t be overlooked as one of the bigger ones. Throughout the night, Allen missed looks that should have been easy and struggled to slow Towns down.

DeAndre Jordan did not fair much better against the young offensive talent either, but Kenny Atkinson will need more from Allen if Brooklyn wants to entertain hopes of a deep playoff run.