Former Duke basketball guard Kyrie Irving defies expectations

Former Duke basketball guard Kyrie Irving (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Former Duke basketball guard Kyrie Irving (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Amidst all the controversy, a Duke basketball alum made his season debut.

It was a joyous day for many NBA fans as one of the league’s top talents, Kyrie Irving, finally made his season debut. On Wednesday night, the former Duke basketball one-and-done took the floor for the Brooklyn Nets in their game at the Indiana Pacers and helped them come away with a come-from-behind 129-121 win.

Irving didn’t seem to miss a beat despite not being on the court since June 2021 because of his unvaccinated status.

The 6-foot-2 point guard and former No. 1 NBA Draft pick recently received permission to rejoin the Nets on the terms of being a part-time player. And in his first game of the season, Irving was in rhythm, especially when it mattered most.

He finished with 22 points, four assists, three rebounds, and three steals. After a slow start, Irving began to get in a groove despite such a large gap since his last NBA game. Few expected the 29-year-old NBA Blue Devil to be in midseason form, but he was still great.

Clutch play from the Duke basketball product

Kyrie Irving had a possession in the first half where he took the ball the length of the court and converted on a contested finish at the rim, reminding the basketball world of one of many aspects he brings to the game.

Especially during the closing moments of the third quarter, Irving’s presence on the court was instrumental in the Nets’ success. The one-time NBA champion blocked Pacers guard Keifer Sykes on one end, then proceeded to convert a momentum-shifting 22-foot pull-up jumper on the other end.

However, the fourth quarter was when Irving fully displayed his clutch gene, making big shots to will the Nets to a 19-point comeback win.

The Eastern Conference has already outplayed the West thus far this season. Now, the addition of Irving only puts the East further ahead.

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The Brooklyn Nets (24-12) currently sit No. 2 in the East. Although Kyrie Irving won’t be available for home games for the rest of the season, his impact in the games he does play should be immense.