It didn’t take long for Kyrie Irving to return to his usual form. In fact, he believes his best is still to come.
After a lengthy absence away from the Nets due to his decision not to get vaxxed— and the team’s decision to keep him away unless he was full-time, Irving has put together a series of strong performances complete with flashes of his superstar play … on the road.
Irving, who is still not eligible to play in home games due to his vaccination status, is coming off a stellar showing in Brooklyn’s four-game road trip (2-2).
Irving posted averages of 27.8 points (53.4 percent shooting from the field and 39.3 percent shooting from three-point range), 4.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists on the road trip. The 6’2” guard tallied a season-high-tying 30 points Sunday night on 11-of-20 shooting overall and 3-of-8 shooting from behind the arc, to go with six boards and five assists in a team-high 35 minutes.
“I think I’m slowly crawling into my prime right now if I had to evaluate myself,” said Irving with a smile after the Nets’ 136-125 loss to the Timberwolves in Minnesota Sunday night. “But coming off a good road trip like this was a good test. I’m just grateful that I was able to get up and down and come out of these games healthy.
“I feel like I’m in a rhythm shape-wise, being able to play both ends of the ball, and in terms of getting to my spots and knowing down some easy shots. And then, game to game just making adjustments. That was new for me. We’re 2-2. We split it. Wish we were 3-1 or 4-0, but sometimes it just happens that way.”
In the seven games Irving has played on the road thus far, Brooklyn compiled a record of 4-3 with the superstar guard posting averages of 23.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.0 steals in 34.6 minutes per game. The pattern is positive.
Brooklyn will be without Irving for the upcoming back-to-back against the Lakers on Tuesday night and the Nuggets on Wednesday. The short homestand will give the superstar guard a four-day rest period before the Nets flies out to Golden State on Friday. The five-game West Coast road trip will be against Western Conference contenders — a great if tough test for a team weathering the loss of Kevin Durant.
“We just talked about it in the locker room. Four days at home and then we’re back on the road. It’s just a lot to look forward to. First, the guys are going to have to galvanize and be able to take care of this back-to-back against two great teams in this league that ultimately are going to be competing in the Western Conference for a championship run. It will be a good test,” Irving said.
“In the meantime, I’m just staying in the gym, staying in shape as best as I can just playing with the ‘stay-ready. group, and staying engaged and doing what I can to stay in a rhythm.”
Tuesday though will be bigger test than anticipated. Anthony Davis, who’s been out for a month with a meniscus sprain,