Although the Brooklyn Nets were 14-3 on the road ahead of Monday night’s matchup against Portland, the Nets fell, 114-108. Kyrie Irving played in his second game of the season for Brooklyn and finished with 22 points (9-of-21), eight rebounds, and four assists.
Irving’s part-time presence wasn’t enough for the Nets in a game without James Harden, but that wasn’t the main story from the loss. With a little less than six minutes left in the game, Trail Blazers forward Nassir Little gave both Irving and Brooklyn fans a scare.
The Nets were down, 98-93, and Little was following behind Irving in pursuit of a loose ball. Little dove across the floor directly into Irving’s left ankle. The point guard laid on the floor and grimaced, which caused the Nets to call a timeout. He got up and limped to the sideline, but eventually made his way back into the game.
Luckily, in a situation that could’ve ended with a much worse result, Irving rolled his ankle. After the game, he was asked about the play, and he gave an honest answer that has since stirred up controversy.
Kyrie Irving speaks out against Nassir Little after Brooklyn Nets’ loss.
Irving’s right, he could’ve broken his left ankle. It was just seven months ago that he injured his right ankle in Game 4 of the playoffs against Milwaukee, which before Jan. 5, marked the last time that he played in a game for Brooklyn.
Little was made aware of what Irving said about the play, to which he replied on Twitter and said: “I would never hurt someone on purpose, I have the utmost respect for Kyrie! But y’all are delusional if you think this is a bad play, and id do it again. Idgaf what y’all talkin about.”
It was a risky move with Irving running directly in front of him, but it doesn’t appear as if Little was being intentionally dirty. Irving understood that and said that he knows that Little was going for the ball, but that it was still a bad play.
Following the play, the officials didn’t call a foul on Little, and Irving wasn’t happy about that. He spoke with the officials and told them that they need to do a better job of protecting the players.
As Irving said, it could’ve been avoided, but Little was acting in the heat of the moment while playing the game of basketball.
What’s most important is that Irving wasn’t seriously hurt, and according to him, he’ll be able to play on Wednesday against Chicago.