Kyrie Irving scores 22 points in comeback with Nets

INDIANAPOLIS – Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving scored 22 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals in 32 minutes during his season debut in a 129-121 win over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

Irving started the game and received some applause and boos during the pregame introductions. He looked a bit rusty in nine minutes of the first quarter, going 0-for-3 from the field with two turnovers, but he showed flashes of his old form as the game progressed, including several key baskets down the stretch.

Irving, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, returned to the court Wednesday after the Nets reversed course last month and decided to allow him to rejoin the team as a part-time player. Irving is ineligible to play at home due to New York City’s vaccination mandate. After the team decided before the season that it didn’t want to have a part-time player, Nets coach Steve Nash was asked before Wednesday’s game why the arrangement would work now.