Kyrie Irving finally made his home debut Sunday night. But the game against the Charlotte Hornets didn't go as planned.
"Not the result we wanted," Irving said. "I didn't shoot as well as I wanted. Basically none of the things I had hoped for going well tonight just didn't happen, and that's just the flow of basketball."
Led by LaMelo Ball -- 33 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists -- the Hornets beat Brooklyn 119-110, spoiling Irving's first game back at the sold-out Barclays Center. Kyrie put up 16 points and 11 assists, but only shot 6-for-22 from the floor in 41 minutes of action.
“I wish we had a day of rest at least”
The Nets failed to build off of momentum gained from a win against the second-seeded Miami Heat on Saturday. They have now dropped to No.9 in the East, without a tie-breaker against the eight-seeded Hornets.
“I wish we had a day of rest at least.”
This was only the second time this season Kyrie played in back-to-backs. But having only played 21 games heading into yesterday's matchup, no one expected him to play the fatigue card.
However, early shooting struggles indicate Kyrie couldn't keep fresh legs. The same goes for the rest of the Nets, who, as a team, only shot 7-for-34 from the three-point line. The Hornets, on the other hand, hit 17 of their 32 long-range attempts, securing their 36th win with seven games left in the regular season.
Historic night at Barclays
Despite the loss, Irving's return was all about celebration. The largest crowd in the facility's history welcomed him with a standing ovation during the starting lineup introduction, and Kyrie acknowledged their reception by pointing around the arena right before the tip-off.
"I was just trying to ground myself as much as possible today," Kyrie said. "And just prepare for the warm reception from a lot of supporters of the organization, of me, just the journey thus far. So I don't take it for granted what happened tonight; it was historic. I'm grateful I got a chance to be out there with my brothers and just leave it all out there."
The fact Kyrie had nothing left in the tank should worry the Nets fans. However, with seven games left in the regular season, five of which are against teams below or at the .500 mark, there's enough time for Irving to get in game shape and be 100% come playoff time.
If and when the Nets get there, anything is possible.