Nets' Kyrie Irving Says He Believes He's 'Slowly Crawling into My Prime Right Now'

Doric SamJanuary 24, 2022

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, right, tries to get past Minnesota Timberwolves forward Josh Okogie (20) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn

Despite the Brooklyn Nets' 136-125 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, point guard Kyrie Irving is satisfied with the way he's been playing individually.

"I think I’m slowly crawling into my prime right now," Irving told reporters after the Nets fell to 29-17.

Irving scored a team-high 30 points in the loss. He shot 11-of-20 from the field and added six rebounds and five assists. It was his second 30-point game of the year.

It was Irving's seventh game of the season since the Nets allowed him to rejoin the team. He's only allowed to play in road games because of New York City's vaccine mandates.

Brooklyn is now 4-3 in games that Irving has played. He's averaging 23.4 points while shooting over 49 percent from the field.

Irving averaged a career-high 27.4 points in 2019-20, which was his first season with Brooklyn. But he played only 20 games that year because of a combination of injuries and personal absences. He's never averaged seven or more assists in a single season.

The Nets are in second place in the Eastern Conference behind the Miami Heat (30-17). Brooklyn needs Irving as much as possible after losing Kevin Durant to a sprained MCL on Jan. 15. He's expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks.

Durant was playing like an MVP candidate prior to his injury. He leads the league with 29.3 points per game while adding 7.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists.