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Kyrie Irving admits his long absence was a ‘distraction’ for the Nets

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Kyrie Irving raised eyebrows with his comments following the Nets’ Game 3 loss to the Celtics, as he bemoaned that Boston was “jelling at the right time,” while the Nets were “in a new experience as a group.” Irving, of course, missed 53 games in the regular season, largely due to his vaccination status.

Now that the Nets have been eliminated from the first round of the playoffs, Irving is starting to take some responsibility for his absence. After the game, Irving admitted he felt like he was “letting the team down” when he was out.

Irving also pointed to the James Harden trade, which significantly shook up the roster at a time when the Nets were fighting to remain in playoff contention.

“I think it was just really heavy emotionally this season. We all felt it. I felt like I was letting the team down at a point where I wasn’t able to play. We were trying to exercise every option for me to play, but I never wanted it to just be about me. And I think it became a distraction at times, and you know, as you see we just had some drastic changes. We lost a franchise player, and we got a franchise player back, but we didn’t get a chance to see him on the floor.”

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