It’s been mostly a two-horse race between the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers for first place in the Eastern Conference this season, but Sunday’s result in Milwaukee served as a gentle reminder:
Don’t forget about the Bucks.
Milwaukee used a 49-point effort by Giannis Antetokounmpo to edge the Nets, 117-114. Kevin Durant dropped 42 points and 10 rebounds for Brooklyn, but the Nets didn’t get much from Kyrie Irving. Uncharastically, the 28-year-old guard struggled Sunday, shooting just 8-for-21 from the field for 20 points. Irving entered the game shooting 50.2 percent from the field this season, which would be a new career high.
In fact, it’s obvious Irving was not on his game because of how he responded to his performance immediately afterward.
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Kyrie Stays Late
About 20 minutes after the final buzzer sounded in Fiserv Forum, Irving was still on the court. He had shed his Nets jersey, but he was working on his jumper. Lily Zhao of FOX6 in Milwaukee caught Irving taking shots from the left wing while members of the Nets staff grabbed rebounds for him.
— Lily Zhao (@LilySZhao) May 2, 2021
On social media, Nets fans appreciated the extra effort by Irving, especially after a hard-fought loss to a talented Bucks team.
Mamba Mentality 🙌
— ȶei (@IrvingsGoat) May 3, 2021
Love to see it man. Dedication pays off 💯
— ➆ (@HoodieKD7) May 2, 2021
An hour after a tough loss and a less than stellar performance by him personally, with no food or drink in his system, he didn’t get frustrated or give up, he’s just using every opportunity that he has to get better and improve his game… #Respect
— GrantWRLD (@AjangoGrant) May 2, 2021
Even after playing 36 minutes with no food or liquid in his system. My 🐐
— 🖤 (@FinalsKyrie) May 2, 2021
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Irving Is Playing While Observing Ramadan
There’s no doubt Irving has had to make some adjustments recently that perhaps could be affecting his performance.
The seven-time All-Star is observing Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of spiritual contemplation. Observers of Ramadan fast every day of the month, consuming no foods or liquids from dusk until dawn.
On April 23, Irving, usually reserved on such subjects, spoke in detail about his experience being part of the Muslim community and what it’s like observing Ramadan.
“All praise is due to God, Allah, for this… For me, in terms of my faith and what I believe in, being part of the Muslim community, being committed to Islam, and also just being committed to all races and cultures, religions, just having an understanding and respect. I just want to put that as a foundation,” Irving said, via SNY. “There’s such a divisive energy out here, or it’s been that way in our society, it’s just so divisive… bringing that into the game, I don’t want to, but obviously a lot of people have questions.
“But yeah, I am taking part in Ramadan with a lot of my Muslim brothers and sisters. And it’s been an adjustment. That’s really what I can say. It’s just being committed to my service to God, Allah, and then continuing on with whatever I’m guided with. I’m just happy to be part of my community and doing the right things. So, fasting is definitely is definitely part of it — if you know anything about the Muslim community. But yeah, just really blessed and grateful to be taking part of this.”
Kyrie Irving says he’s fasting for Ramadan and has had to change some of his preparation for games:
“I am taking part in Ramadan with a lot of my Muslim brothers and sisters and it’s been an adjustment” pic.twitter.com/xRRni7V3f1
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) April 24, 2021
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