Brooklyn Boro

Irving shines in Nets’ first preseason win

Scores 23 points as Brooklyn readies for exhibition finale

October 13, 2022 John Torenli, Sports Editor
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Kyrie Irving must have heard fellow superstar Kevin Durant’s disillusionment with the Nets’ performance in their preseason home finale at Barclays Center last Thursday night.

The mercurial point guard put up a team-high 23 points, grabbed seven rebounds, handed out four assists and knocked down four 3-pointers Wednesday night as Brooklyn posted its first exhibition win with a 107-97 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in front of 12,544 fans at Fiserv Forum.

Durant couldn’t find anything to be pleased about following the Nets’ 109-80 defeat to Miami in Downtown Brooklyn last week, which dropped the team to 0-2 as it prepares for the upcoming 2022-23 campaign.

“I didn’t like anything, you know?” Durant lamented.

Irving wasn’t the only Net that responded, but he went 8-of-19 from the floor, 3-of-4 at the line and logged a team-high 33 minutes as Brooklyn continued to heat up for the 82-game grind of an NBA season.

Durant added 19 points, eight assists and three steals and Nic Claxton had 16 points and nine boards for the Nets, who will close out the exhibition slate Friday night in Minnesota.

Day’Ron Sharpe and Came Thomas finished with 11 points apiece for Brooklyn, which spent most of this offseason wondering if they would even have Durant and Irving after both were shopped on the trade market.

Head coach Steve Nash and Kevin Durant were pleased with the performance and the result after Brooklyn’s preseason win in Milwaukee Wednesday night. AP Photo by Aaron Gash

Joe Harris, who missed all but 14 games last season due to an ankle injury, traveled with the team after sitting out the Miami loss at Barclays. But he did not dress as head coach Steve Nash and the training staff continue to monitor his soreness following the exhibition opener.

Ben Simmons, whom the Nets are relying on to be the potential third superstar in this lineup, had seven points, eight assists and a team-high 10 rebounds in his return to action after sitting out all of last season with mental-health issues and a herniated disk.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points and 14 rebounds and Jrue Holiday added 20 points for the Bucks, who fell to 0-5 on the preseason.

After visiting the Timberwolves Friday, the Nets will begin preparing for their regular-season opener Oct. 19 vs. New Orleans at Barclays.

Liberty forward Jocelyn Willoughby received the WNBA Cares Community Assist Award Monday. AP Photo by Charles-Rex Arbogast

NOTHING BUT NET: Nash did indicate prior to Wednesday’s game that he is “optimistic” that Harris will be ready when the Nets open the regular season next week. … Following Wednesday’s game, the Nets announced the signing of undrafted forward Donovan Williams to a contract, terms of which remained undisclosed. The former UNLV star competed for Brooklyn during their Summer League play in Las Vegas this summer and might be headed to the G-League team on Long Island. … Williams averaged 12.7 points over 27 games for the Runnin’ Rebels last season. He also connected on an impressive 43 percent of his 3-pointers. … New York Liberty guard/forward Jocelyn Willoughby received the WNBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by State Farm earlier this week for, “her commitment to challenging racial and economic injustices, and providing resources to help vulnerable individuals in New York and society at large.”

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