Nets vs Rockets: Kyrie Irving Picks Up Hot Streak in Return

Kyrie Irving was back in the lineup for the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, putting up 27 points in the win over Minnesota.

Irving had missed the previous three games due to a family matter. In the last five games he’s played, Irving is averaging 30.0 points while shooting 53.5 percent.

“Well, anytime – I am blessed from God to be allowed to come out here and perform – I’m just grateful,” said Irving. “You know, missing time – especially when you got a good flow going, the team has a good flow – it definitely hits you mentally because just missing three days in the NBA seems like an eternity or four games or whatever the case may be. So again getting thrown back out there – throwing myself back out there – felt good and like I said, I am just grateful to be able to play this game with everything going on in the world, so. You know, my teammates make it special, the coaching staff makes it special, the fans make it special. It is my job to go out there prepared and just go out there and put on a show and perform. You know, I’m back home. It’s easy.”

Next for Irving and the Nets is Houston on Wednesday night, the front end of a back-to-back and part of a run of three games in four nights. The Nets are 8-1 since the All-Star break, 18-3 since Feb. 10, and 32-15 for the season.


The Nets haven’t seen anything like James Harden in more than a decade. With 38 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds in Monday’s win over Minnesota, Harden matched Jason Kidd’s franchise record of 12 triple-doubles in a single season, which Kidd accomplished twice.

Harden of course has played just 32 games as a Net, with 35 more games still on the schedule this season. With his next triple-double, he’ll tie Larry Bird on the all-time list with 59. Kidd is fourth in NBA history with 107 triple-doubles, including 61 as a Net.

“They’re much different players,” said Steve Nash, a Kidd contemporary as a player, and a fellow point guard. “James is much more of a scorer than Jason was. Jason was kind of an all-court player. He defended and was a pass-first guard. So different but both dominate. It’s impressive for James in such a short time to rack up so many triple-doubles. He’s our leader and he’s meant a lot to us. Another triple-double. We can’t take it for granted, but we tend to a little bit because he is able to pull these out of a hat at any given moment.”


One trickle down effect of Brooklyn’s blockbuster trade with Houston earlier this season, sending out four players in a multi-team deal that brought James Harden to Brooklyn, has been the deep effect on both team’s rosters. The Nets have cycled through some short-termers in those roster spots before landing Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge, while the Rockets just kept on dealing. They’ve each used 25 players this season, and the Nets will be up to 26 once Aldridge debuts. Brooklyn has used 23 different starting lineups this season. The Rockets have used 31 in 45 games.


While Kevin Durant remains out, Landry Shamet is questionable with the ankle sprain that has cost him the last four games. Newly acquired LaMarcus Aldridge is also out. He last played on March 1 for San Antonio, and much like Blake Griffin, the Nets are ramping him up.

“Not a clear-cut plan. I think we’re going to monitor it day-to-day,” said Steve Nash. “There’s a chance we could see him later this week, but I think that depends on how this goes, how his conditioning goes, how his body feels and try to choose the right day for him to play his first game.”


The Rockets are 13-33, having lost 21 of 23 games since Feb. 6. The Nets won the previous meeting, 132-114 on March 3. Houston is 28th in offensive rating (105.7), 29th in field goal percentage (43.6) and 30th in 3-point percentage (33.0). The Rockets did get Christian Wood back on March 17 after he missed 17 games, but he’s missed the last two. The 6-foot-10 center is averaging 21.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, and shooting 55.1 percent. Guard John Wall averages 20.2 points and 3.4 rebounds.