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Kyrie Irving Takes Over, Nets Win Game 1

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Kyrie Irving and the Nets took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Saturday night, defeating the Bucks 115-107.

Brooklyn’s Big 3 took a major hit 43 seconds into the game when James Harden reinjured his right hamstring and was quickly deemed unavailable for the remainder of the contest.

Fortunately for the Nets, Kyrie Irving stepped up in a big way and took over in the first half.

Irving, a West Orange native and former Montclair Kimberley Academy and St. Patrick high school star, was red hot scoring 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting in the opening half.

Irving spoke to reporters after the game about what losing a player the caliber of Harden means for their ballclub.

"It's never easy to lose anybody, especially this time of the year where we just wanna have fun playing basketball and playing the right way and competing at a high level,” Irving said.

“We're obviously out there for bigger reasons, so when you see the game snatched away so early from one of our brothers, we feel for him, and we just had to make a quick adjustment and just adjust from there.”

Filling in for Harden at the point guard spot, Irving looked to get others involved in the second half.

The Nets were able to coast to a victory thanks to second half contributions from Big 3 member Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin and others.

Irving’s final stat line for the game was 25 points on 11-of-26 shooting, including 3-of-11 from the 3-point line.

The New Jersey native also grabbed five rebounds, dished out eight assists, had a single turnover, a steal and a block.

The Nets relied heavily on Irving, playing him 44 minutes, a game high for either team.

The Brooklyn crowd showed their appreciation for Irving's heroics, breaking out in a chant of "Kyrie Irving" following a drive to the hoop midway through the third quarter.

Following the Game 1 win, Irving spoke to reporters about being ready for tough moments thanks to having faced adversity throughout the regular season.

“I've been saying it for a while, just in terms of the journey this year, what it's taken for us to just continue to persevere and just be resilient,” Irving said.

“We just gotta dig deep, especially when you don't know when some of those situations are gonna happen.”

Irving and the Nets will play the Bucks in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Monday on TNT.

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