Kyrie, Kyrie Irving, Irving, Spalding basketball in court
Photo by TJ Dragotta on Unsplash

Kyrie Irving, Nets Look to Take 3-1 Lead Over Bucks

MILWAUKEE – Kyrie Irving and the Nets are set to play the Bucks in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals after losing Game 3 86-83 on Thursday night.

The 83-point outing marked the Nets lowest scoring performance of the season.

New Jersey native Kyrie Irving finished the game with 22 points on 9-of-22 shooting, including 2-of-8 from beyond the arc and 2-of-2 from the free throw line.

Irving, who played high school ball at Montclair Kimberley Academy and St. Patrick, also grabbed five rebounds, dished out an assist and had three steals.

Fellow Big 3 member Kevin Durant had 30 points and Bruce Brown finished with 16. No other member of the Nets scored more than five points.

The Bucks, who went into the game desperate to avoid an 0-3 hole, jumped out to a 30-11 lead after the first quarter.

Irving told reporters after the game that the Bucks intensity was no surprise but was nonetheless effective.

"Shoot, man, they did what they were supposed to do: come out aggressive, backs against the wall, and we had to weather that storm,” Irving said.

“So definitely kind of put us on our heels for the rest of the game just playing catch up, playing their style of basketball, and then they made some big timely shots which carried them forward.”

Irving discussed the defensive game between the two ballclubs but did not seem concerned on the Nets low scoring night.

“That's just good old fashioned playoff basketball,” Irving said.

“So when we get a less than 90-point scoring game on both sides, you look back at the film, we feel like we did a good job defending them. They feel like they did a good job defending us. So Game 4 should be special. But we've definitely got to take our lessons from this game and move on to the next one.”

Heading into Game 4, the Nets will once again be without a key piece to their success and championship hopes.

The health status of Big 3 member James Harden is still up in the air and the All-Star guard has been ruled out for Game 4.

Harden reinjured his right hamstring 43 seconds into Game 1 of the series and has not been available since.

Nets coach Steve Nash told reporters on Wednesday that he remains hopeful Harden can return during the series but could not give further details.

"We're optimistic that we can have him back at some point, but we can't set a timeline yet," Nash said.

Without Harden, the Nets will likely continue to rely heavily on Irving at the point guard position.

Irving and the Nets play the Bucks in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at 3 p.m. Sunday on ABC.

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