cloudyn.png
Thursday January 20th, 2022 9:35PM

While waiting on Irving, Nets still searching for answers

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — Instead of taking a big shot, James Harden wants to deliver one — right into Kyrie Irving's arm.

If Irving gets vaccinated against the coronavirus, the Brooklyn Nets become an almost unstoppable offense with three of the most dynamic scorers in the NBA.

If he continues to refuse, the Nets might just continue to be a team that loses as often as it wins at home, where Irving is ineligible to play because of New York City's vaccine mandate for professional athletes playing in public venues.

After the Nets looked as good as ever in a 138-112 rout of Chicago on Wednesday with Irving in the lineup, Harden was ready to take matters into his own hands to make sure his fellow All-Star guard could stick around.

“I’m going to give him the shot,” Harden said with a smile.

A night later, Irving was again away from the team, Kevin Durant got a night to rest and the Nets were routed 130-109 by the Oklahoma City Thunder, falling to 11-11 at home.

On the one-year anniversary of the blockbuster trade that brought Harden to Brooklyn to set up an explosive Big Three, the Nets still don't know when they will be able to deliver on their promise more than half the time.

“Hopefully towards later in the season, or maybe hopefully after All-Star break — well, hopefully sooner than that, but I’m just speaking after All-Star break — hopefully we can have our full roster and catch a real rhythm to where we know what the hell we got in this locker room," Harden said.

Irving has played three games since the Nets decided to bring him back to play in all the road games where there is no vaccine mandate. They won two, losing Monday when Harden sat out in Portland on the second night of a cross-country back-to-back.

They rebounded with the romp over the East-leading Bulls, with Harden saying afterward that the Nets have “got to get Ky to be able to play in home games.”

But coach Steve Nash said Thursday he's gotten no indication from either Irving or New York City that there is any more reason for optimism of him playing at Barclays Center.

“I’ve not heard anything at all,” Nash said. “So for me, it’s just, he’ll be playing on the road.”

That will help the Nets in the short term. Starting Monday, they begin a stretch with 11 of 14 games on the road — though Irving won't be eligible to play at Golden State because of San Francisco's vaccine mandate.

In the meantime, Miami has caught Brooklyn for second place in the East and defending champion Milwaukee is just a half-game behind. The Nets have gone just 5-6 since a coronavirus outbreak in the middle of December landed at one point 10 players in the NBA's health and safety protocols.

Nash said the tough stretch has given the Nets an opportunity to learn about themselves. On the other hand, they already knew the obvious lesson: They aren't the same without Irving.

“That is true. We haven’t had our whole group. We’re better when we have our whole group, in almost all scenarios,” Nash said. “Having said that, there is slippage since we came back from the COVID break.”

Irving is one of the few known unvaccinated players in the NBA, and players such as Golden State's Andrew Wiggins and Washington's Bradley Beal eventually got their shots before mandates in their cities would have sidelined them in home games.

Durant and Harden have said they won't pressure Irving. They know that when he plays, the Nets are good enough to blow away the East leaders on their home floor.

Without him, they're even beatable by some of the NBA's worst on their own court.

And exactly halfway through their season, that's about all the Nets know for sure.

“It feels different when we got everybody there. Like last night was how it’s supposed to be the majority of the time, you know what I mean?” Harden said. “But we're dealing with whatever we’re dealing with, so we’ve got to just go with the flow, and figure it out game by game.”

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
While waiting on Irving, Nets still searching for answers
Instead of taking a big shot, James Harden wants to deliver one — right into Kyrie Irving’s arm
2:04AM ( 3 minutes ago )
N. Korea fires likely missile in 3rd launch this month
Officials in South Korea and Japan say North Korea has fired at least one possible ballistic missile in its third weapons launch this month, an apparent reprisal for fresh sanctions imposed by the Biden administration for its continuing test launches
1:35AM ( 32 minutes ago )
In Washington, a day of snapshots of divisions and futility
Thursday saw a closed-door huddle by an embattled President Joe Biden with his own party’s senators, apparently for naught
1:34AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Grizzlies win 11th straight, beating Timberwolves 116-108
Desmond Bane scored 21 points, Jaren Jackson Jr. added 20 and the Memphis Grizzlies pulled away in the final minutes for their 11th straight victory, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 116-108 on Thursday night
12:13AM ( 1 hour ago )
Titans hope third time is charm as top seed in AFC playoffs
The Tennessee Titans are the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs for the first time since 2008
11:38PM ( 2 hours ago )
Rask return, Pastrnak hat trick help Bruins beat Flyers 3-2
David Pastrnak scored a hat trick, Tuukka Rask made 24 saves in his return from hip surgery and the Boston Bruins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2
11:26PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
Damian Lillard out at least 6 weeks after surgery
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has had surgery to repair a core injury that has been causing him abdominal pain
5:19PM ( 8 hours ago )
MLB talks resume after 42-day gap, little progress evident
Labor talks to end the baseball lockout have resumed for the first time in 1 1/2 months with little evident progress during a bargaining session that lasted about an hour, jeopardizing a timely start to spring training
5:10PM ( 8 hours ago )
MLB talks resume after 42-day gap, little evident progress
Labor talks to end the baseball lockout have resumed for the first time in 1 1/2 months with little evident progress during a bargaining session that lasted about an hour, jeopardizing a timely start to spring training
3:47PM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
Kentucky's Tshiebwe wants 'my name to be remembered forever'
Kentucky’s offense now runs through big man Oscar Tshiebwe
1:02PM ( 1 day ago )
Hall of Famer Grant Hill's memoir 'Game' coming out in June
Grant Hill’s path to the NBA Hall of Fame had plenty of pain along with all the highlights
8:33AM ( 1 day ago )
Morant scores 29, Grizzlies beat Warriors for 10th straight
Ja Morant scored 29 points, including five in the final minute, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Golden State Warriors 116-108 for their 10th straight win
12:05AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - NBA
N. Korea fires likely missile in 3rd launch this month
Officials in South Korea and Japan say North Korea has fired at least one possible ballistic missile in its third weapons launch this month, an apparent reprisal for fresh sanctions imposed by the Biden administration for its continuing test launches
1:35AM ( 32 minutes ago )
In Washington, a day of snapshots of divisions and futility
Thursday saw a closed-door huddle by an embattled President Joe Biden with his own party’s senators, apparently for naught
1:34AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Biden all but concedes defeat on voting, election bills
President Joe Biden is all but conceding defeat for this year on the Democrats' big elections and voting rights legislation
1:24AM ( 43 minutes ago )
Oregon beats No. 3 UCLA 84-81 in OT for Altman's 700th win
Jacob Young scored a season-high 23 points and Oregon edged No. 3 UCLA 84-81 in overtime to give coach Dana Altman his 700th career victory
1:22AM ( 45 minutes ago )
Timme's 30 lead No. 2 Gonzaga over BYU 110-84
Drew Timme scored 30 points on 13-of-14 shooting and No. 2 Gonzaga beat rival BYU 110-84 to extend the nation’s longest home winning streak to 61 games
1:18AM ( 49 minutes ago )