Kyrie Irving scored 21 points in his first game in nearly two months as the Brooklyn Nets never trailed and cruised to a 108-86 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night in New York.
Irving returned from missing 26 games with right shoulder impingement and in his first game since Nov. 14 at Denver, the All-Star guard made 10 of 11 shots, hit his one 3-point try and had three assists in 20 minutes.
After getting 11 points by halftime, Irving went 5-for-5 from the floor in the third before checking out for the rest of the game. He rested over the final 17:54, exiting after the Nets took an 87-50 lead and the outcome was never in doubt.
The Nets, who were 13-13 in Irving’s absence, led by as many as 39 and won their second straight game following a seven-game losing streak.
Taurean Prince added 14 for the Nets, who shot 53.2 percent and beat the Hawks for the eighth straight time. Caris LeVert and DeAndre Jordan contributed 13 apiece as the Nets won consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 15-17.
The Hawks saw their league-worst record drop to 8-32 as they shot 33 percent as Trae Young sat out with left hamstring pain.
Rookie Cam Reddish led the Hawks with 20 points and was Atlanta’s only double-figure scorer until the final seconds of the third quarter. DeAndre’ Bembry added 12 as the Hawks dropped their fourth straight game.
Former Net Vince Carter played 14 minutes in his final road game against the Nets and scored eight points. He exited to a standing ovation, waved to the crowd when he checked out with 89 seconds remaining and hugged Irving immediately after the final horn.
Brooklyn shot 70 percent and held a 37-16 lead after one quarter when LeVert hit a 17-footer at the buzzer. The Nets continued to shoot well and held a 70-46 edge by halftime after shooting a blistering 65.8 percent.
Brooklyn took its first 30-point lead at 78-48 on a layup by Joe Harris less than three minutes into the third and took a 92-66 lead into the fourth.
—Field Level Media