Kyrie Irving sets NBA record by scoring 50 points in Nets debut, but misses potential game winner as Brooklyn falls in OT to Wolves
Rarely is a player as good as advertised, but Nets floor general was everything, then some, in his debut on Wednesday night. Irving set a new league record with 50 points in a debut with his new team and became the first player to record the statline of 50 points 8 assists, 7 rebounds and 0 turnovers in a game since turnovers started being recorded in the 1978-1978 season.
The New Jersey native was unconscious throughout most of the night and brought the Brooklyn crowd to its feet time and time again. Brooklyn was sluggish out of the gate falling behind by 18 points in the first half as they found no answers for Karl-Anthony Towns and Minnesota's high-flying offense.
Sixth man Spencer Dinwiddie hit a desperation half court shot just before the halftime buzzer that brought the Nets to within 12 points. That shot spurred on a superb third quarter that saw Brooklyn outscore Minnesota 37-20 and capture a five point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
While Irving and company were able to build the lead up to eight points, the Wolves, led by Townes, stormed back to take a late lead.
Jarrett Allen had a chance with two free throws to give the Nets a lead with the game tied and with less than five seconds remaining in regulation, but missed on a pair.
Brooklyn headed to overtime and after a back and forth battle, Irving had the ball in his hands with just over 14 seconds left and the shot clock off with a chance to write a storybook ending to his already historic night.
Irving methodically dribbled his way toward the free throw line and as he spun to make a spin move, he lost his footing and staggered to the ground. The Nets point guard would miraculously regain his balance and fired up a jumper that bounced off the right side of the rim and fell off as time expired.
Irving lay exasperated on the Barclays Center floor as his teammates rushed to pick him up and encourage him after a heroic performance that fell just short.
Irving told reporters after the game that it was uplifting for him to see all his teammates rush to his side after missing the game winner and it spoke to the team's character and unity.
“I fell. I was in the process of making another move and just lost my footing, lost my balance," noted Irving. "Somehow I got it back and just got to get my elbow pointed at the rim. I had a better chance at making it. It was right a little bit, so, just gotta tuck the elbow in a little bit and I’ll have a better chance. But when you lose balance like that, you try to get your bearings really quickly and I give credit to them. Obviously just losing my balance made the big difference there.”
The Nets will have the day off Thursday before preparing for the Knicks on Friday night. It will be Irving Jersey giveaway day and the point guard sure gained a lot of fans with his play on Wednesday night.