Nassir Little defends play that nearly injured Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving Nassir Little
Jan 10, 2022; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward Nassir Little (9) dives for a loose ball during the second half against Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) at Moda Center. The Trail Blazers won the game 114-108. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving may not have loved Nassir Little’s diving effort that nearly injured the Nets superstar late in Monday’s game against Portland, but Little saw nothing wrong with it.

Little took to Twitter on Tuesday to defend the play after Irving called it “unnecessary” after the game. The play in question occurred in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter as the two went after a loose ball.

“I would never hurt someone on purpose,” Little said on Twitter. “I have the utmost respect for Kyrie! But y’all are delusional if you think this is a bad play, and id do it again. Idgaf what y’all talkin about”

Irving was hurt on the play but did finish the game and is expected to play in Chicago on Wednesday. Little went sliding for the ball between Irving’s legs as the Nets’ guard tried to jump and get out of the way.

Little appeared to catch Irving’s leg on the slide and Irving fell awkwardly on his ankle.

“I’ll be okay. It’s a bad one, just one of those bad plays,” Irving said. “Yeah, I tried to get out of the way, but I just felt like it was unnecessary for him to dive that far away from the ball. I was just trying to get out the way. But just unnecessary play. I asked the refs, just, you’ve just got to protect our players out there. It’s just totally unnecessary.

“I get Nassir wants to go for the ball, but it’s like bro it’s just a bad play. It’s all good.”

Irving was looked at by the team trainers but appeared to be OK.  The game was Irving’s second since returning to the court as a part-time player.

The Nets guard finished the night with 22 points in 40 minutes of work, despite the late-game scare.