First Kyrie Irving scrubbed the energy on the TD Garden court. At that point he and the Nets cleaned the floor with the Celtics.
Irving’s takeoff from Boston had been intensely scrutinized and highly criticized. Yet, before the clue of his first game back, he surrounded the court burning sage, an otherworldly custom planned to scrub an individual or space, while promoting healing. At that point, Irving demonstrated exactly how healthy he was.
After a shoulder impingement cost Irving both of the Nets’ street games against Boston last season — the last one really in the NBA’s bubble — he collaborated with Kevin Durant to lead Brooklyn to a 113-89 preseason finale defeat Friday night. Furthermore, despite the fact that there were no salty Celtics fans to boo him, the star watch put on an act.
Irving had 17 focuses, seven bounce back, five assists and completed a game-high in addition to 29. Durant had a game-high 25 points, six boards and three blocks. They encouraged the Nets to a 32-point lead after three, and passed on the fourth.
“Coming here is easy, man. Performing here is easy. Basketball’s the easy part. It’s the external stuff beforehand that gets a little noisy. That’s how I limit that,” said Irving, who seemingly kept good relations with a number of ex-teammates despite being vilified by Celtics fans.
Irving is part Native American through his late mother and grandma, who were individuals from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. And keeping in mind that saging cleanses energy, Irving said it wasn’t something he pulled out explicitly for Boston.
“It just comes from a lot of native tribes, being able to sage, just cleanse the energy, make sure that we’re all balanced and we come into this job and we come to this place,” Irving said. “It’s not anything that I don’t do at home. … I saged last game, and I plan to sage almost every game if the opposing team will allow me.”
Durant — who looked agile with breakaway dunks, baseline drives into contact and stare-down 3s — affirmed in a TV meet that it’s common practice for Irving.
“That’s his thing. Kyrie probably sages his room before he plays NBA 2k,” Durant said. “That gives us good energy. He does it in the locker room. That’s his thing and we all respect him and respect his methods.”
The techniques are working. The Nets’ investigated guard held Boston to 32.9 percent shooting, and 6-of-40 from 3. The Nets hit 15-of-32 from deep themselves, and with the opener Tuesday versus the Warriors — followed by a Christmas rematch in Boston — they looked prepared.
“I have no choice but to be ready,” Durant said. “But I feel all right. I feel like I’ll get better with more and more reps, especially with regular-season intensity. To start the season every team is going to be playing extremely hard, so I want to see how I get through that first stretch and throughout the middle of the season and play towards the back.”
Caris LeVert — who missed the preseason opener with a knee injury — appeared with 18 points off the seat. Joe Harris bobbed back from a peaceful game against the Wizards to score 14.
The Nets took order ahead of schedule with a 19-4 run over a brief range, prodded by their guard. They constrained four turnovers to transform a shaky three-point edge into a 33-15 pad that demonstrated unconquerable.
Durant’s drive and dunk covered a 18-0 rush to close the third and give the Nets a 92-60 lead going into the fourth.
With Kemba Walker out for the Celtics, Jayson Tatum had 19 and Jaylen Brown 16. Yet, the Tatum shot only 5-of-17, while Brown was a less 21 going toward Durant.
“It was good. We made we’ve made some strides defensively, we were connected, better recognition of situations, but most importantly competed, played together,” Nets coach Steve Nash said.
“Kevin and Ky were great. We gave them some more minutes in their legs, rhythm looked good. Those guys are in good position to start the season. Not ideal with a short preseason, but considering what we’ve been able to put together here in 18 days we can’t ask for much more.”
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