As far as new first impressions go, Kyrie Irving's tops them all.
The All-NBA point guard, acquired in free agency during a hectic NBA offseason, scored 50 points in his debut with the Brooklyn Nets. Irving's effort sets a new league record for most points scored in a debut with a new team.
|Kyrie Irving||50||Brooklyn Nets||2019|
|Kiki Vandeweghe||47||Portland Trail Blazers||1984|
|Wilt Chamberlain||43||Philadelphia Warriors||1959|
|James Harden||37||Houston Rockets||2012|
|Charles Barkley||37||Phoenix Suns||1992|
|Orlando Woolridge||37||Denver Nuggets||1990|
Irving did it with his trademark toolbox of dribble moves, contorting drives and physics-defying finishes. His between-the-legs, step-back 3-pointer put the Nets up by three with 1:16 remaining before the Timberwolves forced overtime.
The only disappointment in his otherwise spectacular showing was his last shot -- a spinning attempt that for degree-of-difficulty alone will earn plenty of play on highlight reels. The attempt itself, however, was off, allowing Minnesota to escape with a 127-126 win at Brooklyn.
Despite the loss, Irving said the first game in his new uniform felt incredible.
“It’s a great starting point,” he said. “Obviously, you wanted to come out and get a win in front of our home crowd, but we got another chance on Friday.”
Irving spoke to the crowd from the court before the game and briefly had to stop his speech when it appeared he was getting choked up.
“It just hit me before the game,” Irving said. “I wasn’t trying to get too emotional or anything like that, but I’m just a Jersey kid playing for his home team. There’s nothing like it. This has been brewing since I was in fourth grade.”
Irving's 50-point special ushers in a new era for the Nets, whose admirable rebuilding job peaked this summer with the free agent additions of Irving and Kevin Durant. With the latter out due to a torn Achilles suffered in the 2019 Finals, Irving will lead the team throughout 2019-20. His first attempt at doing so carved out a place in the record books, where he is now tied for fourth all-time in most points scored in a season opener.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.