Kyrie Irving ended up back on the Boston Celtics’ popular parquet floor on Christmas Day, wearing his standard No. 11 pullover – a similar number he said he trusted would one day swing from the rafters here inside TD Garden.
Just this time, Irving wasn’t playing for the Celtics. All things considered, in his first game back here since leaving as a free specialist the previous summer, he reminded Boston why it exchanged for him in any case, scoring a Brooklyn Nets Christmas-record 37 focuses, while Kevin Durant added 29, as Brooklyn deleted a halftime shortfall and directed the Celtics in a 123-95 triumph.
“It was nothing tactical going into the second half,” said Irving, after he and Durant each scored 20 points after halftime, nearly outscoring the entire Celtics team by themselves.
“It was really up to us to make high basketball IQ plays and then be able to stop them on the defensive end.”
The Nets have a huge load of hostile capability around their two stars, however the arrangement in the subsequent half, as a rule, was just to move Irving or Durant the ball and get. What’s more, to be reasonable, when a group has two of the best detachment scorers in the association, that is a beautiful high IQ approach to play.
“They’re very capable of pouring it on,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “I think [Brooklyn is] the deepest team in the NBA and certainly is in the conversation to be the best.”
While Irving and Durant decided to collaborate a year ago, it took year and a half for that association to emerge on the court on account of Durant’s recuperation from medical procedure for a torn Achilles ligament. Furthermore, due to bear gives that Irving had last season, it accepting similarly as long for him to make his official re-visitation of the spot he called home for two seasons.
Yet, the two stars more than compensated for the stand by with a glimmering execution, as each had the option to score effortlessly that the two of them independently have made their names by doing over the previous decade.
With Kemba Walker, Irving’s substitution at point monitor here in Boston, sidelined as a feature of a continuous program to reinforce his mulish left knee, the Celtics were basically outgunned by the two hostile supernovas they were going toward. Irving and Durant consistently got their favored shots with a quiet accuracy that Boston, notwithstanding frequently playing great safeguard, was left feeble to stop.
That was particularly the situation in the subsequent half, when Irving and Durant equally split 40 focuses on 15-for-21 shooting – including 6-for-7 from 3-point range.
Then again, the Celtics, as a group, just scored 41 focuses after halftime.
“Definitely not,” Celtics guard Marcus Smart said when asked if he was surprised at how good Brooklyn’s stars looked. “You got two of the greatest players in the game to date. They’ve got some great players around them to follow. So we’re not surprised; we’ve got to come out and be better. We have to be precise with everything we do. We have to execute to the best of our ability, because that’s what they force you to do. They force you to have to be almost perfect, and you have to respect that.”
At last, it was the bait of that organization that drew Irving ceaselessly from Boston, and to Brooklyn, in any case. Also, through two games, the Nets are excited with how it is advancing – however Irving isn’t happy with things remaining as they seem to be.
“What’s there to be content about?” he asked. “What’s there to be happy about? It’s two games. Let’s move on to the next game. Let’s get ready for Charlotte. Let’s go do this thing again. Let’s have some fun.
“Obviously, we want this season to go in a very patient current. We don’t want to rush this. I know what history looks like, and when you’re a part of it, and I don’t want to take any day for granted, so I’m grateful I get to share it this journey with these guys.”
While Irving’s last season in Boston was a wild one, both he and the Celtics have freely made a special effort to seem to make peace. Similarly as he did seven days prior, after Brooklyn destroyed Boston in the last preseason game between the two groups, Irving had a long, agreeable discussion promptly thereafter with a few Celtics, including colleague mentor Jerome Allen, youthful stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, and Smart, Walker and Daniel Theis.
Furthermore, as he did after that game, when inquired as to whether playing – and winning – in Boston had any additional importance, Irving rather applauded his previous partners.
“I’m just grateful that we’re all healthy and we’re all here to be able to play the game that we love,” Irving said. “Obviously, competing against those guys, competing against the coaches that I had almost a year and a half ago, like I said, I’m grateful. We’re going to continue to see them; we’re in the same division. So, to get us started here in Boston, nothing added.”