Kyrie Irving is the first player to post a stat line of at least 50 PTS, 8 REB, 7 AST, and 0 turnovers since turnovers were first recorded in 1977-78, but it wasn’t enough as the Nets fell 127-126 in overtime to the Minnesota Timberwolves in their NBA season-opener.
As far as new first impressions go, Kyrie Irving’s debut performance tops them all – all that was missing is the win.
The All-star NBA point guard, acquired in free agency during the 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.
Irving, whose arrival from the Boston Celtics as a free agent helped stamp the Nets as contenders this season, opened the night with an emotional address to fans in Brooklyn – not far from where he grew up in New Jersey.
Nets fans would have to wait to see their superstar duo of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant In action, Following surgery to repair his ruptured Achilles, Durant is expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season, but Kyrie is showing he has what it takes to carry the Nets all the way.
“I’m eternally grateful to be here, be back home in front of you guys with my teammates,” Irving said. “On behalf of us – oh man, I’m sorry, it’s just hitting me now – I appreciate you guys, and I look forward to you guys supporting us all season.”
But in a game that saw 22 lead changes, it was the Timberwolves that got the faster start.
They led by as many as 18 points in the second quarter and were up 68-56 at halftime.
Then came Irving, who scored 30 points in the fourth quarter. His step-back three put Brooklyn up 115-112 with 1:16 remaining in regulation, but Karl Anthony Towns – who led Minnesota with 36 points – answered with a three-pointer of he’s own as they went to overtime.
They traded the lead five times in the extra period, two driving baskets from Andrew Wiggins giving the Timberwolves a 127-124 lead.
Irving sank two free throws, but with the ball in his hands for a potential game-winner he stumbled, recovered, but missed his shot.
Irving broke the record for most points by a player in his first game with an NBA team – Kiki Vandeweghe’s 47 for Portland on October 27, 1984.