Nets need more from Kyrie Irving in Game 4 and beyond
Kevin Durant (left) was terrific against the Celtics in Game 3, but Kyrie Irving was not. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Friday’s loss showed that the Nets need contributions from their entire Big Three to be effective, writes Steve Serby of The New York Post. Making his return to Boston, Kyrie Irving shot 6 for 17 from the field and handed out just two assists in 41 minutes as Brooklyn suffered its first playoff loss with the star-filled lineup.

Boston fans have been waiting a long time to vent their anger at Irving, who left in free agency in 2019 after indicating that he planned to sign a long-term deal with the Celtics. He expressed negative comments about his time in Boston to the media this week, so it’s possible he was distracted by the experience during Game 3.

“I don’t want to necessarily make any conclusions that it was because of all the other chatter and the fans and all that,” coach Steve Nash said, “that’s a question for Ky. We know how good he is, we know that he can handle that environment, and we know that he can play much better in Game 4.”

There’s more on the Nets:

  • Brooklyn’s supporting cast also came up short in Game 3, notes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Kevin Durant, James Harden and Irving combined for 96 of the Nets’ 119 points, and the team had only 16 assists on 38 made shots. “I thought for big portions we got a little stagnant,” Nash said. “We got away from our movement. I thought James was scoring in isolation, Kevin was scoring in isolation, but I still think that we can be more difficult to guard in general if we move the ball and get to isolations as a second resort.”
  • Some of the spacing issues were caused by the absence of Jeff Green, who may miss the rest of the series with a foot injury, states Chris Milholen of NetsDaily. With one less shooter on the court, the Celtics were more willing to double team Durant and throw traps at Irving.
  • Joe Harris talks to Mike Mazzeo of Forbes about how he was able to resurrect his NBA career after being traded by the Cavaliers and waived by the Magic following season-ending foot surgery in 2016.

This article first appeared on Hoops Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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