By Grayson Rainey
It has been a frustrating season for Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving to say the least. Having missed the majority of the season and then coming back with high hopes, Irving’s play came to an abrupt halt on Saturday night against the Wizards when he injured his knee while diving on the floor. In the previous game against Chicago on Jan. 31, Irving dropped 54 points en route to victory. The Nets as a collective group shot 62.5 percent from the field.
“We need every game we can get now,” Irving told reporters after the Bulls game. The Nets are currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, just a couple of games ahead of the Orlando Magic.
Irving’s 54 points were the most by any Nets player in the history of the Barclays Center (opened in 2012) and he scored the most points in one singular half without a missed FG in the last 20 seasons, according to NetsDaily.com. The Nets have had to rely on guard Spencer Dinwiddie frequently while Irving has been out injured, and he is averaging around 21 points on the year. Kevin Durant is still injured and a return this year seems very unlikely for one of the NBA’s best players.
Head Coach Scott Atkinson wants to get his team for the playoffs, but they will need Irving and his top-notch skills to make a run and stay competitive each night on the hardwood. With the uncertainty of Irving’s injury, the Nets will need to rely on Dinwiddie and role players such as Joe Harris and Garrett Temple to provide a spark on the offensive end. The Nets have four important games ahead as they play Phoenix, Golden State, Toronto, and Indiana in the coming weeks. The Nets road record is lacking this season at 8-13, but they still have time to win crucial games to stay in the hunt and build on impressive previous games to lock a playoff spot this coming April.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org