Kyrie Irving's personal evolution in Brooklyn has had a huge impact on his game, specifically his shooting efficiency.
Through 27 games this season, his first full campaign with the Nets, the 28-year-old is shooting career-highs from the field (51.6%) and from beyond the arc (42.0%).
He's just 0.8 percent off on his free-throw percentage to record a historic 50-40-90 season, unheard of for a score-first point guard of his caliber. What's more remarkable, he's registering those percentages while throwing-up near career-high attempts from the field (20.4) and from the 3-point line (7.1).
Against the Celtics, in the Nets' first game after the All-Star break, Irving erupted for 40, tying a season-high. The spectacular performance against his former team had the limited number of fans in Barclays Center in awe.
MVP chants for Kyrie.- ESPN (@espn) March 12, 2021
He dropped 40 on his former team 🔥 pic.twitter.com/7cMYmwuUAB
More importantly, he went off for his 40 on15-of-23 (.652) shooting from the field and 5-of-8 (.625) from long distance. Last season with the Nets, in 20 games, Irving shot 50 percent or better from the field seven times whereas this season, he's done it 17 times in 27 games.
This was his fifth 40-point game with the Nets, in just 47 career games, ties him with Bernard King for 3rd-most in franchise history with only Vince Carter (17) and John Williamson (8) having more.
In the back-and-forth contest, which saw seven lead changes and eight ties, no team was running away with it until the Nets seized momentum late, courtesy of Irving. He scored eight of the team's final 11 points as the Nets went on a game-winning 13-3 run over the final 3:55 minutes.
Kyrie from DEEP 🔥- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) March 12, 2021
He's up to 35 PTS pic.twitter.com/N1NIwWWDLK
Kyrie AGAIN 🔥 pic.twitter.com/cCi53Z1Qix- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) March 12, 2021
"He has that killer mentality of no matter who we play, when we play, he's gonna go out there and try to destroy the opponent," teammate James Harden said of Irving postgame.
His combined 77 points against the Celtics are the fifth-most points by a player in his first 2 games vs his former team in NBA history. Irving was one of five Nets players to finish in double figures as they began the second half of their campaign with a win, the 11th in their last 12 games.
James Harden was the team's next-best performer with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists as the Nets snapped the Celtics' four-game win streak and held them to 13-of-40 (32.5%) shooting from beyond the 3-point line.
The views on this page do not necessarily represent the views of the NBA or its clubs.