It doesn’t get much better than the show that Kyrie Irving put on Tuesday night in a big win over the Clippers.
He scored a game-high 39 points on 15-of-23 shooting, 6-of-8 from three, hitting clutch shots down the stretch as the Clips came knocking.
It was Irving’s night. The Nets guard, who has a history of stepping up in big games, had himself a huge one. He heated up in the second half and finished with a game-high and season-high 39 points to go along with two assists and five rebounds in 37 minutes. In a game reminiscent of his 54 point game a year ago this week, Irving’s efficiency was off the charts. He finished 15-of-23 overall and 6-of-8 from three. And again, he was perfect from the line, at 3-of-3. Irving is now shooting 95 percent from the line for the season.
Irving has now scored 25+ points in 13 of his 15 games this season. His 39-point performance is the biggest individual scoring performance at Barclays Center this season.
Irving is on 50/40/90 watch this season, shooting a career-best 53 percent from the floor (his career average is just over 46 percent) and an incredible 44 percent from three and 94 percent from the free-throw line; both career bests.
He is locked in this season. Both on and off the court. Imagine that.
This is the epitome of “shut up and dribble,” right? All the noise and what? He’s playing the best basketball of his career. The balance of being both human and superhuman.
The thing “we” most despise about our favorite athletes is when they’re human.
“They don’t pay you $40 million just to play basketball. Part of it is sitting down with you guys, sitting down with me and Kenny [Smith] and Ernie [Johnson] and [Shaquille O’Neal], talking to New York reporters,” Barkley said on the show. “Being with the media is part of your professional obligation, and you can say what you want to say. But these guys today, they’re different. I don’t hate on them, but I’m not sure what point Kyrie is trying to make.”
Even more than the media boycott, Barkley seems fed up with Irving’s attitude when it comes to his intelligence.
“When he talks, I’m like, what is he saying and what is he trying to say? He starts talking about what an artist is. He’s a basketball player. That’s what he is. Listen, we’re not front line responders. We’re not teachers. Yo man, you dribble a basketball, stop acting like you’re the smartest person in the world.
“Now can you talk about social issues and things like that? Of course. But some of this other stuff, I’m like ‘Yo, man, you do realize you’re just a basketball player, right?’ And it seems like he’s like, ‘No, I want you guys to know I’m the smartest guy in the room.’ Well, first of all, you’re not. You only went to college for six months. A lot of guys are smarter than you are. Just answer stupid basketball questions. And if you want to say something about social justice, say it and mean it, because it’s important and significant. But all that other stuff? Like, yo, man, shut the hell up and talk basketball.”
Insert the “mmmh-ok” meme here.
Here we are - yes, still early - 15 games into the best season of Kyrie Irving’s career, capped off by the best win of this young season for the best team the Nets have ever had.
Isn’t it the best?
It feels like we’re a bit too hard on players, doesn’t it? The flat earth stuff is dumb, partying during Covid is dumb, being away from the team for personal reasons is, well, personal and often hard to understand. I get it.
But, you want to know what else is dumb? That text message you just sent on a group chat. It’s funny, it’s fine, but it’s dumb.
We’re all human. Some of us are superhuman - and that makes their errs hard to comprehend. Totally get that. But we’re all human.
And this week, instead of letting all the noise seep in, let’s celebrate this display of superhuman abilities. Let’s marvel in those moments, like Tuesday, when Kyrie is “something else”.
Those moments are the best, aren’t they?
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