Kyrie Irving is finally back with the Brooklyn Nets after a recurring shoulder injury, and he thankfully doesn’t look like he’s missed a beat.
The Nets point guard scored a hyper efficient 21 points in his return on Sunday, going 10-of-11 from the field in 20 minutes and showcasing his usual elite handles all over the court. Irving also posted four rebounds and three assists.
That performance keyed a blowout 108-86 win for the Nets over the rebuilding Atlanta Hawks. The Nets kept Irving’s minutes limited, and didn’t play him at all after midway through the third quarter when they held a 37-point lead.
Irving’s return was the easy part for the Nets. The true test for whether he’s healthy enough to make the team competitive will come over a brutal five-game stretch beginning Tuesday, where they’ll face the Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, 76ers again and Los Angeles Lakers.
Irving has been out since November with a right shoulder injury, and took a while to get better after receiving a cortisone shot in late December and developing bursitis in the injured shoulder. Without Irving, the Nets went 13-13 with Spencer Dinwiddie leading the team on offense.
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