kyrie irving kevin durant
Brad Penner | USA TODAY Sports

Although the Brooklyn Nets are flirting with disaster in the play-in tournament, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are putting on a show this year. Durant and Irving are taking the show on the road to Madison Square Garden for the first time during their Nets tenure.

Three years later, New York Knicks fans will finally have the chance to boo Durant and Irving at the same time. When asked about the reception he and Durant will get at MSG, Irving talked about the “exciting environment” he expects at “The Mecca.”

“We’ve just got to bring it,” Irving said after Brooklyn’s 118-105 win over the Rockets on Tuesday. “I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to the back-and-forth action. I know the Knicks will be ready. We’ve just got to be prepared. It’s about us.

Nets swingman Bruce Brown wasn’t so measured in his comments. His advice to Knicks fans? Don’t poke the bear.


“I don’t think they want to say too many bad things because there will be two 50-balls tomorrow if they start talking,” Brown said.

He’s not kidding, though. Irving has dropped 30 points 10 times in 26 games, including two 50-balls, and a 60-point outburst that set a Nets franchise record. As for Durant, he has three 50-balls under his belt this year alone.

While any 50-point performance is impressive, guys are doing it in their sleep, eclipsing this mark 20 times during 2021-22. For reference, Saddiq Bey has a 50-point game.

RJ Barrett is the Knick who has come closest to reaching this mark. He dropped 46 against the first-place Miami Heat earlier this year. It’s part of the reason why he’s drawing attention as New York’s most valuable trade chip.

Julius Randle will be out for this one, which means the young Knicks will be on full display. Although they are out of the playoff picture, the Knicks are still playing hard.

Needless to say, this game has massive play-in implications for the Nets. They are back in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, but they are tied with the Hawks and only one game ahead of the Hornets. Furthermore, they have the tiebreaker over the Hawks, but not the Hornets.

Remember, teams that finish seventh or eighth only need to win one game to make the playoffs. Those who finish ninth and 10th will need to win two in a row to get in.

Atlanta will host Washington on Wednesday while Charlotte will play in Orlando on Friday. If the Nets want to stay put at eight, they will most likely need a win in MSG. Here’s a look at where the Nets stand entering MSG on Wednesday:

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