Brooklyn’s Big Three is going to be down to a Big One, with Kyrie Irving scratched from tonight’s game at Indiana and James Harden left the last man standing.
Irving was ruled out around 2:30 p.m. with right groin soreness. It’s not an issue that had been known to be troubling the star guard, who poured in a game-high 34 points in Monday’s win over the rival Knicks and logged 36:47, second-most on the team.
For the most part, Irving has avoided the injury bug that has dogged him for much of his career. He missed seven consecutive games earlier this season, but that was for a personal leave and the ensuing COVID-19 contact tracing quarantine resulting from going maskless at a party.
Irving has actually been fairly healthy and available, ninth in the NBA in scoring (27.6 points) and leading the league in Offensive Rating (121.5). His absence will be a huge loss for an already-shorthanded Nets team missing Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin and Spencer Dinwiddie.
Durant is going to miss his 13th straight game tonight, and 16th in his last 17. He hasn’t played since Feb. 13, and is expected to miss another week or two, according to sources close to the situation.
While Brooklyn has assembled a trio of superstars, they’ve still only started six games together. The Nets are 19-4 when at least two of the Big Three play, but losing Irving leaves Harden to carry an outsized burden tonight in Indiana.
Brooklyn is just 1-2 when Harden plays without Irving or Durant, and in that game – a Feb. 16 escape in Phoenix – he had to pour in 38 points to rally them from a 24-point deficit to win.