Until his fellow superstar Kevin Durant went down with a knee injury, Kyrie Irving knew that his Brooklyn Nets had emerged from a desultory start and become contenders. Indeed, just before KD went down, the Nets were the hottest team in the NBA and new head coach Jacque Vaughn was being touted as the Boss of Brooklyn.
The Nets were so hot that even having gone 4-6 in their last ten, they are still in 4th place in the Eastern Conference at 31-20. But now Irving’s belief is being tested.
Durant is expected to be out a few more weeks and the NBA is a hard league full of hungry competitors. And nobody looks hungrier right now than the Boston Celtics, who tasted glory last season making it all the way to the NBA Finals as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown rose into superstardom.
When the Nets met those hungry Celtics on Wednesday night, the result was 139-96 Celtics. Brooklyn was nothing but roadkill. Irving said he still believes the Nets can contend with the Celtics, but they have to show it.
As they say in all the basketball and screenwriting classes: Show, Don’t Tell.
Talking about Boston, his former team, Irving said: “It’s clear as day that they want to win the championship and they’re not wasting any time in the regular season. So tonight I just felt like we were just one of those teams in the way, and we just can’t be one of those teams in the way. We’ve got to be one of those teams that stands up to them and at least shows them that we’re gonna be competition for them moving forward, which I believe we are, but tonight we just didn’t show it.”