Friday, May 20 2022
Kyrie Irving dribbles against Warriors, guarded by Jonathan Kuminga

Kyrie Irving dribbles against Warriors, guarded by Jonathan Kuminga

Playing in just his eighth game of the season, point guard Kyrie Irving did his best to keep the shorthanded Nets in it against the Golden State Warriors, eventually losing 110-106 on the road.

After the team’s fourth straight loss, Irving spoke about what the Nets found they need to do amid injuries to James Harden and Kevin Durant.

“That we need everyone, we need everyone, we need an amazing effort from everyone, that’s what I mean,” Irving said. “It’s just, with James being out, obviously, you can’t make up his production. We do our best to fill in for his 30 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists that’s he’s capable of going off for every night. But when I say that specifically that we found something, everyone’s effort has to be at a certain level out there.

“And if we’re not playing like that, we’re not looking like a team that has that identity, when we’re playing at a high level on both ends of the floor, specifically, defensively, we’re not ourselves. We got to come out there, especially against these great teams in this league, we got to be the aggressor.”

The Nets now own a 29-20 record and are the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference standings. They will look to end their losing streak on Tuesday against the Western Conference No. 1 seed Phoenix Suns, who hold a 39-9 record.

“It’s not the first time in my career that I’ve lost four in a row, it’s not the first time Steve‘s [Nash] lost four in a row, it’s not the first time James’ lost four in a row,” Irving said. “A lot of us have lost games consecutively. What I’ve learned and I think other guys can echo this sentiment is just we can’t be fragile. People are going to come at us, nobody’s going to feel bad whether this guy is in the lineup, this guy’s not in the lineup.

Irving made it clear that the team has to be aggressive, no matter who is healthy and on the floor for the them.

“Every team is competing for those top four positions. We’re one of those teams that have aspirations of playing down in the late postseason. And these games right here, you remember them because you’re going against a Western Conference team that could potentially be seeing you down the line. You never know what could happen is basically what I’m saying.

“You come out and games like this are a great test, and we want to carry over lessons that we’re learning from on to the next game in Phoenix. And it’s not going to get any easier, those guys are healthy, those guys are hungry. Devin Booker‘s playing at an unbelievable level, so is CP [Chris Paul]. Those are guys that were in The Finals last year, so it’s not going to get easier on this road trip so there’s no time to be fragile.”

Irving was also asked about hearing boos from Warriors fans on Saturday night, adding that he’s used to them and looks forward to matchups against strong teams like Golden State. Irving notoriously hit what would be the game-winning three-pointer in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals to complete the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ 3-1 comeback to win the championship.

“We know each other well, this crowd out here, we know each other well,” Irving said. “It’s not any surprise when I come in here. Different arena obviously, but it’s still the same core group of fans that have a reason to cheer for their team, they’ve been very successful. We’ve had a lot of battles. Like I said, I give a lot of respect to those legends in that locker room down there. We’re all relatively young still, but we’re making impacts on our teams.

“It’s good to see Klay [Thompson] back out there. It just makes the game more fun when you’re going against familiar guys you’ve gone against in the Finals, regular season matchups. It feels good, it’s great to be out there as a competitor. I think that’s why we were able to answer some of their runs. Just going back at them, they were throwing double teams at me, throwing double teams all across the court. We were just able to respond. We can take some lessons from this game and carry it over.”

Source: Yahoo Sports

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