But he sure made this Dec. 25 special.
In his first game against the Celtics since leaving Boston, Irving scored 37 points to lead the Nets to a 123-95 win. The 28-point victory ranks among the most-lopsided in NBA Christmas history.
Irving and Kevin Durant have the Nets looking like a powerhouse early. Beating the Warriors by 26 and Celtics by 28, Brooklyn is the first team to win its first two games by 25+ since the Kings in 2002.
Just a few years ago, who would have thought the Nets would be here so soon? They were in dire straights after trading a massive haul of draft picks to Boston for over-the-hill Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. But Irving and Durant signed last year, instantly transforming Brooklyn. This was the Nets’ biggest win over the Celtics – who have made three of the last four Eastern Conference finals – since than infamous Garnett-Pierce trade in 2013.
Irving made 7-of-10 3-pointers, tying a Christmas-game record for 3s made (Brandon Ingram last year and Duncan Robinson earlier today). Irving also consistently attacked the paint, creating opportunities for himself and teammates, dishing eight assists with only one turnover.
Durant added 29 points – the most in a Christmas game by someone who didn’t lead his team in scoring since Kobe Bryant scored 29 (to Shaquille O’Neal’s 32) for the Lakers in 2000.