Five Thoughts From The Nets’ 127-126 OT Loss To The Timberwolves, Including Kyrie Irving Counting The Defenders He Cooked On The Way To The Basket (Video) – BlackSportsOnline
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Five Thoughts From The Nets’ 127-126 OT Loss To The Timberwolves, Including Kyrie Irving Counting The Defenders He Cooked On The Way To The Basket (Video)

The Brooklyn Nets dropped their season opener to the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-126 in overtime on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center. Here are five thoughts from the game. 

Kyrie Irving

50 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 0 turnovers, +18. 

It was quite the homecoming for the Nets star point guard. He said he was caught up in the emotions pregame as this was a moment he was looking forward to. 

Irving was sublime on Wednesday night, showing off his elite handles, creativity, and shot making ability. He had the Barclays Center crowd (more on them later) agasp with “oohs” and “aahs”. 

He had a play in the first quarter where he got by three defenders on the way to the basket.


Whenever Irving had the ball, there was a feeling something exciting was bound to happen, and it pretty much did. He was efficient, 51% from the field, 50% from three and 90% from the free throw line. 

Irving broke the record or most points by a Nets player in their debut, and he broke the NBA record for most points scored by a player in their team debut.

He almost single handedly won the game for the Nets after a poor start by the team defensively in the first half. 

Wednesday night was also the one year anniversary of the passing of his grandfather, George Larson. His heart was heavy and there was a lot on his mind. But the all-star said, he came into the arena with the right mindset and let it all flow from there. 

Lineup tinkering 

It’s early in the season and the team is getting adjusted to playing with one another. Unfortunately, Kyrie sat out almost all of the preseason with an injury so they couldn’t establish a rhythm. 

Head coach Kenny Atkinson will tinker with the lineups over the course of the early part of the season looking for combinations that work. 

A lineup that looked good in brief minutes was Irving, Dinwiddie, LeVert, Prince and Allen. You have multiple ball handlers, spacing, and a rim protector. That’s essentially the starting lineup with Dinwiddie in for Harris. 

It’s only one game but Atkinson will have to find a lineup that works when LeVert is the primary option. Maybe a spread lineup with shooters and Jarrett Allen? 

Defensive communication 

Brooklyn’s defense was bad in the first half. They gave up 68 points. Players were slow on rotation and nobody seemed to be communicating, particularly when a screen was being set by Towns. Nets players got hung up and swallowed by Towns’ massive frame. 

In the third quarter when the Nets made their run, the communication improved greatly and guys fought harder to get around Towns. 


Defense is mainly an effort thing, but it seemed like communication was as much the culprit on Wednesday night. The Nets were much better in the second half, but the principles that Atkinson and his coaching staff believe in, were not being adhered to.

Home crowd…

So, NYC is a Knicks town. That’s what everyone who is from here would tell you. The Knicks have a legacy, for better and for worse, and a generational connection to its fans. 

The Nets don’t have that, yet. 

At the start of Wednesday’s game the lower bowl at Barclays had a lot of empty seats. With the start of the Irving, end eventually Kevin Durant era, I expected a sellout for the home opener. 

The fans were also quiet in that first half. To be fair, the home team did not give them a lot to cheer for with that poor start.  

However in the second half and into overtime the crowd was loud and got into it. It’ll be interesting to see how the crowd develops and embraces this Nets team over the course of the season. 

Dinwiddie to Jordan lob…

This play was unsuccessful on Wednesday night. The Timberwolves were well prepared for this whenever DJ was in the game. 

Jordan is a tremendous rebounder, defender and rim protector. At least, the Nets hope that’s the version of him they get. 

He is limited offensively. The lob to him at the rim or putbacks is how he gets the majority of his points. 

The rest of the league knows all of this too. 

Dinwiddie tried that too many times on Wednesday. You love to see it, because he wants to get his teammates involved. But when the defense is sagging back like that and waiting to pick that off, it’s a live ball turnover which puts your team in a compromised position. 


A bonus thought. Karl Anthony Towns is good at basketball. 36 points, 14 rebounds, and 3 blocks. He was 7-11 from three. 

Flip the page for Kyrie Irving’s full postgame comments. 

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