Irving’s 50 points not enough in Nets debut

Source:AFP Published: 2019/10/24 20:08:41

Kyrie Irving Photo: AFP

Kyrie Irving dazzled in his Brooklyn debut, but his 50 points weren't enough as the Nets fell 127-126 in overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves in their NBA season-opener.

"Outstanding," was the verdict of Nets coach Kenny Atkinson. "Great debut for him."

Irving, whose arrival from the Boston Celtics as a free agent helped stamp the Nets as contenders this season, opened the night with an emotional address to fans in Brooklyn - not far from where he grew up in New Jersey. "I'm eternally grateful to be here, be back home in front of you guys with my teammates," Irving said, choking up at one point.

But it was the Timberwolves who jumped out to the faster start, leading by as many as 18 in the second quarter.

Then came Irving, who scored 13 points in the fourth quarter. His step-back three put Brooklyn up 115-112 with 1:16 left in regulation, but Karl Anthony Towns - who led Minnesota with 36 points and 14 rebounds - answered with a three-pointer as they went to overtime.

They traded the lead five times in the extra period, two driving baskets from Andrew Wiggins giving the Timberwolves a 127-124 lead.

Irving sank two free throws, but with the ball in his hands for a potential game-winner he lost his balance, recovered and kept the play alive but missed the final shot.

Irving finished without a turnover and broke the previous record of 47 for most points by a player in his first game with an NBA team.

The Celtics' post-Irving life began with a 93-107 loss to the 76ers in Philadelphia.

Ben Simmons, who opted not to play for Australia in the World Cup to focus on his preparations for the season, led the Sixers with 24 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.

Five 76ers in double figures included Joel Embiid, who took a beating on the way to 15 points and 13 rebounds.

The Cameroonian center was left with a bloodied face when he took an inadvertent elbow from Jaylen Brown in the third quarter and hit the court hard chasing a loose ball in the same period. Embiid was also whistled for a flagrant in the foul-strewn contest in which neither of the expected Eastern Conference contenders wanted to give an inch.

Al Horford added 16 points for Philadelphia against the team he'd played for the past three seasons.

Gordon Hayward led the Celtics with 25 points. Jayson Tatum had 21 and Kemba Walker, making his Celtics debut, added 12.


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