The Brooklyn Nets fell 127-126 to the Minnesota Timberwolves in overtime of Wednesday's 2019-20 season opener at Barclays Center. >> Box Score
Six things to know from Wednesday's game...
1) Kyrie Irving's homecoming to the Nets, the team he grew up rooting for while the franchise was in New Jersey, was historic. With 50 points on 17-of-33 shooting, Irving set the Nets' -- and the NBA's -- single-game record for scoring in a player's new-team debut. Irving added a 7-of-14 clip from three-point range, plus seven assists and eight rebounds, for the Nets' offense in what was an all-around effort. Perhaps most notable, Irving did not turn the ball over once. Despite a facial fracture that handicapped him throughout the preseason, Irving did not wear a mask as he made his season debut.
2) Irving played with fire after an emotional pregame speech. Upon addressing the home crowd before the opening tip, Irving said he was "eternally grateful to be here." Midway through the brief statement, Irving stopped to gather his thoughts and said, "it's just hitting me right now." Irving continued: "I appreciate you guys and I look forward to you guys supporting us all season. Let's go, Nets." The passion poured out late in the game especially, highlighted by eight straight points from the 2:19 mark of the fourth quarter to the 1:16 point, giving the Nets a 115-112 lead and forcing the Timberwolves' timeout four seconds later. Irving's big moments continued into overtime, but he was ultimately unable to give the Nets' the game-winning shot, missing a 15-foot jump shot as time expired on the final possession.
3) The Nets' starting five with Irving included Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Taurean Prince and Jarrett Allen. While Irving did the heavy lifting in the first half with 25 points, the Nets fell down 33-22 at the end of the first quarter and trailed 68-56 into the locker room. Then the Nets clawed back in the third quarter with their 37-20 run as they recaptured the 93-88 lead into the final frame. The 37 points in the third broke the Nets' franchise scoring mark in a quarter for a season opener.
4) Among the supporting cast for Irving, LeVert looked sharp, picking up where he left off from his surging performance during April's 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs. LeVert followed Irving with 20 points on 9-of-19 shooting, grabbing five rebounds and dishing four assists in a role at the two that complemented the one (Irving) well. Prince (15 points) and Harris (14 points) joined LeVert and Irving among the Nets' starters to hit double figures, while Spencer Dinwiddie pitched in 14 points off the bench.
5) Dinwiddie played well off the bench, but the Nets needed more from role players such as Allen and Deandre Jordan. The two post players contributed little on offense and struggled to contain the Timberwolves' top threat between the post and perimeter. Karl-Anthony Towns dropped a double-double with 36 points and 14 rebounds, going 11 for 22 from the field and drilling 7 of 11 triples. Allen had a chance to ice the game and give the Nets the lead at 115-115 with 5.7 seconds left off a pass from Irving while driving into the lane, but missed two free throws. Prince grabbed the offensive rebound, but Towns blocked the attempted put-back and the game went into overtime.
6) Welcomed during the Nets' pregame introductions, Kevin Durant and Irving received loud cheers, respectively, going first and last from out the tunnel and onto the Barclays Center hardwood. Dressed in a blazer, white t-shoirt and pants as he starts out his first year with the Nets and works back from offseason surgery for a ruptured Achilles, Durant had the best seat at Barclays Center for Brooklyn's battle.
Kyrie Irving dropped 50 in his Nets debut, but couldn't get the buzzer beater to go that would've given the Nets the win.pic.twitter.com/pVXBkImXOH- SNY (@SNYtv) October 24, 2019
The Nets remain home Friday with the first of four games on the year against the New York Knicks at 7:30 p.m. Before the crosstown rivalry renews, the Nets are slated to hand out Irving jerseys for the first 10,000 fans -- believed as a jab at the Knicks, who missed out on Irving in free agency over the summer.