There was an explosive scoring battle between two All-Star point guards on Friday night when Kyrie Irving and the Fred VanVleet took turns carrying their team’s offense. VanVleet, in particular, has snapped out of his slump in a huge way, scoring 39 points in consecutive games, doing everything he can to spur the Toronto Raptors to victory.
Alas, it was the Brooklyn Nets who emerged victorious after Irving nailed a game-winner right in VanVleet’s grill. And the Raptors point guard had nothing but praise for his Nets counterpart even as he drove the dagger into their hearts for their third straight loss.
“He’s the best in the world at that right there,” VanVleet said, per Eric Koreen of The Athletic.
The Raptors faced a difficult choice in the dying embers of the game. The Nets had either Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving to go to with the game hanging in the balance. While they couldn’t go wrong with either, Fred VanVleet is right that there may be no scarier sight with the clock ticking late in the fourth quarter than a locked-in Irving.
No one will ever forget how Irving sank the go-ahead, leaning triple over Stephen Curry in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, etching his name into crunch-time lore for all eternity. And it seems like VanVleet hasn’t too.
Irving finished the night with 32 points, putting the Raptors defense in the blender all night long. However, the Raptors have no time to get down on themselves especially when they’re in the middle of a losing streak. Fred VanVleet has done his part, despite being the unfortunate recipient of a heartbreaking game-winner, and it’ll be up to his teammates to step up and pick up the slack.