Irving is sharper than ever on return to Nets

Sports | ASSOCIATED PRESS 14 Jan 2020

Kyrie Irving had not played in two months, but on his return he made 10 of 11 shots - the best shooting of his NBA career.

He scored 21 points in 20 minutes after recovering from an injury to his right shoulder, leading the Brooklyn Nets to a 108-86 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

That meant making a career-best 90.9 percent of his shots after missing 26 games, and the shoulder looked fine and his handling as good as ever as he dribbled around a hopeless Atlanta defense.

Energized by his return, the Nets won their second straight after dropping seven in a row.

"We had a certain confidence about us," Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. "So great, great timing having him back."

Irving had felt pain early in the season and took himself out of the lineup in November. The Nets held up well without him for a while thanks mostly to Spencer Dinwiddie.

Atlanta star guard Trae Young missed the game because of a hamstring injury.

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