Kyrie Irving’s much-maligned season hit a high note on Saturday as the Brooklyn Nets edged the Detroit Pistons in overtime.
Irving poured in 45 points, none more impressive than the two he scored on a third-quarter floater from the baseline.
Doing his best Larry Bird impersonation, Irving ran off a screen to the baseline, where he lofted a high-arcing floater that carried over the backboard and hit nothing but the bottom of the net on its way down.
Kyrie’s impressive line
Irving finished with 45 points, seven assists and six rebounds in the 121-111 overtime win while hitting 15-of-30 field goals, 5-of-12 shots from behind the arc and all 10 of his free throws.
It was a rare bright spot for Irving, who’s spent much of the season injured as the Nets have gotten off to a disappointing 19-25 start. Saturday’s win broke a five-game losing streak for Brooklyn.
Irving’s, Brooklyn’s struggles
Along with the disappointment on the court, Irving has carried the baggage that’s followed him from the Cleveland Cavaliers and led to a mostly bitter exit from the Boston Celtics to Brooklyn.
Since returning from a shoulder injury that cost him 26 games, Irving has openly courted controversy with statements disparaging the quality of his fellow Nets, further exacerbating his reputation as a bad teammate.
The Nets losing five out of seven games since his return to the court has done nothing to quell the knock that he’s a player who produces impressive statistics and highlights, but not wins.
An overtime win over the Pistons in January isn’t going to do much to extinguish that conversation.
But his talent is undeniable, a lesson the Pistons learned the hard way on Saturday.
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