kyrie irving
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving sets the Brooklyn Nets’ single-game scoring record by dropping 60 points.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are playing “anything you can do, I can do better” and Kyrie has the upper hand at the moment. Either way, this friendly rivalry is turning into wins for the Brooklyn Nets.

Two days after Durant dropped 53 against the New York Knicks, Irving put up 60 points on 31 shots against the Orlando Magic. This broke Deron Williams’ previous franchise record of 57.

Irving caught himself with that “flow of the game” comment. To his credit, he was efficient with his shots and he wasn’t forcing too much. But there were a few moments where Irving went straight at a triple-team.

When a player puts up 41 points in the first half, he earns the right to have a few “heat check” possessions.

The Nets have had a 50-point scorer in three of their last four games, all wins. Don’t forget that Irving put up 50 on the dot against the Hornets less than a week ago.

Combined, Durant and Irving have six 50-point games despite only playing in 168 games total for Brooklyn. The rest of the Nets franchise has a total of seven 50-point games in total. Would anybody be surprised if Durant or Irving go for another 50-piece this year? Nothing about those two will surprise us at this point.

Climbing out of the play-in tournament is going to be tough, but not impossible. Brooklyn currently trails the sixth-place Cavaliers and seventh-place Raptors by 3.5 and 2.5 games, respectively.

At this point, the best realistic scenario for the Nets would be to match up with the Cavs as the seven seed in the play-in tournament. Irving would most definitely be eligible to play in that game in Cleveland.

If the Nets jump up to the seven seed, it’s a toss-up as to whether or not Irving will be able to play. He is still barred from playing in home games due to the nonsensical vaccine mandate rules that New York City Mayor Eric Adams is clinging to.

Irving can hang out maskless in a packed Barclays Center crowd, but he is not allowed to step onto the court and play for the Nets. It makes no sense no matter how you view Kyrie Irving’s vaccine refusal.

Baseball Saves the Nets?

Throughout this NBA season, Irving has been public enemy No. 1 when it comes to NYC’s vaccine mandate. He is the only Net or Knick who is ineligible to play in home games. However, this current (and again, nonsensical) rule is going to apply to the Yankees and Mets when the MLB season starts.

Aaron Judge is likely unvaccinated and he is not alone. The Mets were below the 85% threshold for vaccinations last season when MLB began loosening restrictions for teams above that mark.

It’s safe to assume both MLB teams are lobbying the mayor’s office to change this rule. When it was Irving, Adams could dig in his heels and use Irving as a lightning rod. If a handful of Yankees and Mets are sitting in the crowd at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, the calls to change this rule will only get louder.

Although this rule makes no sense and any rational observer can see that, Mayor Adams seems intent on using it as a political football. Irving, Judge, or any other unvaccinated New York athletes are not victims, but they are highlighting the ridiculousness of the current state of affairs in New York.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.