“I don’t think that we go out every single day of our lives and sacrifice the time in order to be average at anything,” Irving told reporters postgame, per SNY. “I know no one here on this call wakes up to be average at anything that they do – and we look very average.”
Brooklyn was without Kevin Durant, who is sidelined through at least Friday due to health and safety protocols, but Irving and former league MVP James Harden combined for 51 points on 20-for-42 (47.6%) shooting with 19 assists. However, they struggled to contain the Pistons’ Jerami Grant and Delon Wright who had 32 and 22 points, respectively.
Irving claimed the Nets’ struggles to bring everything together have been exacerbated by a number of external factors, including Durant being pulled from a game due to an associate’s positive COVID-19 test.
“We’re dealing with a lot of the reality that we’re putting this together on the fly,” Irving said. “We are the team that the NBA put the most games on. We’re the team that gets someone taken out during COVID during the games. We’re the team that has to deal with the refs. We’re the team that is literally battling against so many odds that at this point, (there’s) not even a reason to continue to comment on it.”
In fairness, the Nets have been anything but average offensively with their three superstars on the floor. In 165 minutes with Durant, Harden, and Irving together, Brooklyn has scored 119.3 points per 100 possessions – a rate that would translate to the NBA’s best offense this year – but the team has allowed 115.1 points per 100, on par with the fourth-worst defense.