After news came out that Kyrie Irving had completely shut himself out to teammates and coaches during one of his infamous mood swings on the team’s trip to China, it was worth questioning whether or not this experiment would work out. He clearly had chemistry issues towards the end of his run in Cleveland and in his brief stop in Beantown.

After the point guard’s effort against the powerhouse Houston Rockets, though, it’s tough to deny that he does a tremendous job of leading the team once he’s on the court. Maybe it makes sense that Kevin Durant, when asked if he’d try to intervene during these mood swings, said he’d rather just let him be and watch him do his thing. Though the Nets suffered some heartbreaking losses early on, as Kyrie stole the stat-sheet show, he played a much more mature game this time around and led a nice team win.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT  FG   FT  
22 4 10 0 1 6 5-8 7-18 3-4

His numbers took a slight hit, but as the current No. 1 player in fantasy, this line isn’t a disappointing one. Unlike the other games, Kyrie had some help along the way.

Here are some of the other significant performances from around the rest of the NBA last night:

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The only thing that could have made NBA Jam better was if each player had their own custom announcing package. The generic lines were fantastic and made up a good portion of the top lines in sports video game history, but personalized reactions to certain player performances would have just been epic. Like if Ben Simmons hit a three-pointer in today’s NBA Jam equivalent, announcer Tim Kitzrow having an absolute meltdown would have just taken the game to another level.

Bam Adebayo’s custom line is just built into the script. It’s too easy. There would have been a LOT of “BAM SHAKALAKA” last night after his performance.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
19 13 8 0 1 3 0-1 5-9 9-12

His everyday starter role has benefitted him tremendously through two games and he’s showing why he’s deserving of that spot. Losing Whiteside, which has benefits in its own right, is also made a little easier when Bam is producing like this. Here are some other notable performers from Saturday night action.

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After a season opener in which he was practically a non-factor, Dallas’s offseason acquisition of Delon Wright had a much more encouraging performance on Friday night.

PTS REB AST STL BLK TOV 3PT FG FT
20 7 3 5 0 0 0-1 8-12 4-4

This all around contribution is what we saw from him in small doses after he broke out last season, and he should be a valuable contributor going forward on a dynamic Mavericks team. Here are some other notes from Friday’s nearly-full slate of games.

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Average doesn’t really cut it in the NBA. It never really did, and it especially doesn’t in today’s league. But the perfectly mediocre Detroit Pistons were believers, squeaked into the playoffs with a perfectly mediocre 41-41 record, then got absolutely trounced by the Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round, which began the next phase of their… plan. Whatever that plan is. Rebuild? Tank? From the looks of it, they plan to be content with their current state of just being meh.

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There have been some interesting storylines surrounding Giannis Antetokounmpo this offseason. The 2018-19 MVP accepted his award humbly and gave an emotional speech before telling ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk that he’s only reached “60% of his potential.” Uh-oh. Then, the Milwaukee Bucks went out and made a splash in free agency, signing veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver. As one of the best shooters in the world, he’s a worthy mentor and has been helping the Greek Freak to develop his jumper. Uh-oh. And then, NBA coaches and executives went ahead and voted Kawhi Leonard as the best player in the league. Because why not incite the 25-year-old Milwaukee mainstay to play even better this year?

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Philadelphia fans were the beneficiaries of one of the luckiest, most physically-improbable moments in football history after Cody Parkey’s double-doink field goal miss allowed the Eagles to move on in the playoffs. Just four months later, physics turned right back around and crushed the City of Brotherly Love, as Kawhi Leonard’s heave from the corner looked like a video game glitch. It bounced away from the basket initially, only to turn around and define the Sixers’ season and entire plan for the future. But a new year is on the horizon. Kawhi is in the East no more. And the Sixers are revamped.

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