A lot of things went wrong in Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets’ last-second 109-107 loss to the Miami Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena on Sunday. While most pundits would point out Brooklyn’s defensive gaffe of not closing out on Bam Adebayo in that final play, Irving claimed it’s not his biggest regret.
According to the one-time NBA champion guard, he should have given the ball to teammate Landry Shamet more, particularly in that pivotal fourth period. The Nets’ shooting specialist, after all, had the hot hand all game long and erupted for a career-high 30 points.
Here’s what Irving had to say about the 24-year-old back-up guard after the match, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post:
“Amazing. Amazing. We’ve been talking, just in-between games with guys being out and where he can be more aggressive, and I feel like he found something. Just playing off the ball, playing with the ball in his hands, and then attacking the rim,” the Nets star said of Shamet. “He played incredibly well. So we definitely down the stretch, as I look back on it, I’m looking at it like, ‘Why did I not get something open for Landry?’ Guy’s got 30 points. We should go with the hot hand. But you learn after the games. It’s 20/20 [hindsight].
“So moving forward, we’re definitely looking forward to him getting better and finding spots.”
Following his 20-point performance against the Charlotte Hornets in their last outing, Shamet stayed hot draining 10 of his 15 shots from the field, including an efficient 7-of-12 from beyond the arc for 30 points in 38 minutes. But with the game extremely close in the dying minutes, Irving took it upon himself to command for the Nets down the stretch. The Heat defense, of course, were expecting him to do so and clamped up on him in the clutch.
Kyrie Irving still finished with an all-around performance of 20 points, nine dimes, four boards, two steals, and two blocks. Then again, maybe if he deferred to Shamet late in the game, they could have gotten the W in this one.