NBA

Kyrie Irving ready for Nets return against Cavaliers, relishing Harden link-up

By Sports Desk January 19, 2021

Kyrie Irving is ready to play again and looks set to line up for the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday after a run of seven missed games.

The six-time All-Star has been absent for personal reasons and received a hefty punishment for breaching NBA health and safety protocols while away from the team.

That was imposed after Irving was filmed apparently attending a large birthday gathering while not wearing a mask.

But Irving confirmed on Tuesday he is back in training with the team, putting him in line to face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday evening.

Explaining his absence, Irving said on Tuesday: "There's been a lot of family and personal stuff going on, so I just want to leave it at that."

Coach Steve Nash said: "I expect him to play tomorrow. It's great to have Kyrie back in the building. We've missed him and I'm excited to get him back out on the floor."

Irving was fined $50,000 by the NBA and docked over $800,000 in salary for the two games he missed while ordered into quarantine by the league.

He will have a notable new teammate on his return to action, with the Nets having landed James Harden from the Houston Rockets.

Harden, an eight-time All-Star, bolsters the scoring power already in Brooklyn's ranks, with Irving averaging 27.1 points per game in his seven outings for the team this season and Kevin Durant posting 30.6 PPG in 11 appearances.

The new arrival meets with Irving's approval.

"I'm very excited to have James here," Irving said. "We're just moving on to the next phase of developing as a team, building some camaraderie and having fun.

"It's just really exciting to be able to play with great players."

He spoke of the experience that Harden brings and said: "Adding that to our locker room is going to be great for us."

Without Irving, the Nets have won five of their past seven games to improve to 9-6 for the season.

Related items

  • Middleton revels in Bucks finding different ways to win Middleton revels in Bucks finding different ways to win

    Khris Middleton said the Milwaukee Bucks are having to learn how to win in different ways after impressing in the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo against the Sacramento Kings.

    Having needed to rely on an impressive defensive showing against the Chicago Bulls, it was the turn of the offense to turn it on in a 133-127 triumph against the Kings.

    Middleton had 34 points, while Jrue Holiday put up 26 as the Bucks chalked up another tick in the win column despite Antetokounmpo missing out with soreness in his right knee.

    "We just need to be able to win different type of ballgames," Middleton said after the defending champions moved to 29-19 on the season. 

    ''Every game is not going to be perfect, every game is not going to be pretty. To get defensive stops, to get 50-50 balls like we did [against the Bulls], it helps. 

    "When you hit shots like we did tonight, it also helps."

    Middleton made a key three-pointer with one minute and nine seconds remaining on the clock, with the Kings having fought back to within three points.

    Holiday felt Middleton's effort was key in helping the Bucks get over the line.

    "I feel like this is what he has been doing," Holiday said. ''He makes timely threes. He makes big shots, especially in that moment when they had momentum. He just came down and laced them, took advantage."

    Donte DiVincenzo (20 points), George Hill (17) and Pat Connaughton (15) all made valuable contributions for Milwaukee to earn praise from Middleton.

    "I think they were great," he added. 

    "Pat got hot for us. George did a great job at the point guard position, just controlling the team. Defensively he was all over the place, coming down for rebounds and helping box out. 

    "Pat has played so many different positions. It's weird to see him playing the center. He's a selfless guy doing anything that can help."

  • Bulls confirm Caruso to miss six to eight weeks after Allen flagrant 2 foul Bulls confirm Caruso to miss six to eight weeks after Allen flagrant 2 foul

    The Chicago Bulls have announced that guard Alex Caruso will miss six to eight weeks due to a wrist injury sustained in a controversial moment in Friday's 94-90 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

    Caruso will undergo surgery early next week for a fractured right wrist, having been fouled by Milwaukee's Grayson Allen, who was subsequently ejected.

    The former Lakers guard joins Lonzo Ball on the sidelines for the 28-16 Bulls, who have lost five of their past six games.

    Caruso's agent Greg Lawrence called Allen's foul, deemed flagrant 2 by the officials, a "cheap shot" given the significant injury it had caused. Bulls head coach Billy Donovan had labelled Allen's act as "dangerous" after the game.

    The 27-year-old guard played out the game but admitted his wrist continued to bother him, impacting his shooting.

  • Lakers to make game-time decision as Davis closes in on return from injury Lakers to make game-time decision as Davis closes in on return from injury

    The return of Anthony Davis is imminent with the Los Angeles Lakers listing the All-Star as "questionable" for Sunday's game against the Miami Heat.

    Davis has been out of action since December 17 due to a sprained MCL in his left knee but he is considered a game-time decision for Sunday.

    The Lakers, who are 23-23 this season, have gone 7-9 in Davis' absence across the past 16 games.

    "Whenever AD is ready, we're going to love that, that's for sure," Davis' Lakers teammate LeBron James told reporters on Friday.

    "I mean he's one of our biggest guns that we have, and having him on the floor, it just creates so much for us offensively and defensively, able to do so much more.

    "But his health is what's most important, and once we know that he's healthy, he knows that he's healthy, we get him back on the floor and then we start getting his wind and his rhythm."

    Davis is averaging 23.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.2 steals this season.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.