BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets won their fourth playoff game in a row, blasting the Bucks 125-86 to take a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals on Monday night.
Irving continued his success filling in for James Harden as the team’s primary ball handler.
Harden reinjured his right hamstring in Game 1 and his availability to return during the series is currently unknown.
Irving, who grew up in West Orange and played high school ball at Montclair Kimberley Academy and St. Patrick, picked up right where he left off in Game 1, scoring 22 points.
The All-Star guard shot 9-of-17 from the field, including 4-of-8 from beyond the arc.
Kyrie stops on a dime 😳
— NBA (@NBA) June 8, 2021
Irving also brought down five rebounds, had six assists, a steal and a single turnover.
However, Irving was held without a trip to the free throw line for the second straight game, a rarity for one of the best slashers in NBA history.
The Nets held a halftime lead of 65-41 over the Bucks and the game was never in question.
Following the Game 2 win, Irving talked to reporters about the team’s fast start and early success.
“I just think it was our pace,” Irving said.
“We were able to get stops, able to push the ball in transition and capitalize off a lot of opportunities we had with mismatches.”
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) June 8, 2021
The series now shifts back to Milwaukee where the Bucks finished the season with a record of 26-10.
Irving told reporters he knows the Bucks will be desperate to get a win and the Nets cannot let up if they want to close out the series.
“Those guys are looking for a response game and we just have to be prepared,” Irving said.
Irving also talked about the difference between playing in Brooklyn versus taking the series to the Bucks homecourt.
“I mean, being in the playoffs, understanding that the home crowd does make a difference and people play a lot more comfortable when they're at home,” Irving said.
“It's simple. The fans aren't going to come on the court and block anybody's shots or do anything and that makes a difference in our communication. So, we just have to make sure we're doing those little things.”
Irving, Nets, Game 3
Irving and the Nets will look to take a 3-0 series lead when they play the Bucks in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Thursday on ESPN.