The Brooklyn Nets are heading into a difficult matchup against the 7-1 Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night. To make the task even more challenging, they'll have to defend their home court without one of their star players in Kyrie Irving.
While it is unknown at the moment, he'll the anticipated matchup against the 76ers on Thursday for personal reasons, according to The Athletic's Sham Charania:
Nets star Kyrie Irving will miss tonight's game against the 76ers due to personal reasons.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 7, 2021
Irving has missed a few games this season, but all were simply from a resting standpoint by head coach Steve Nash. Nash has implored the same tactic for his other superstar in Kevin Durant, who's in the midst of a comeback following a torn Achilles back in 2019.
The Nets will be severely depleted in the backcourt without Irving. They're already in the midst of finding a replacement on their roster for Spencer Dinwiddie who tore his ACL.
To complicate matters even more, the Nets haven't jumped off to the start that many assumed they would with both Irving and Durant back. While most of this could be chalked up to both players sitting in some of their earlier games, there have been some performance issues with both players on the floor at times.
Their most recent loss to the Washington Wizards caused some head scratches amongst the league after both Irving and Durant failed to close out the game with two misses in a clutch situation.
Even so, the pairing has proven that as a unit they can flourish together. Irving has averaged 27.1 points, 6.1 assists and 5.3 rebounds through seven games so far.