Player grades: Kyrie Irving scores 30 in deceptive 117-112 loss to the Suns

The Brooklyn Nets strolled into the Footprint Center on Thursday to face the Phoenix Suns for the first of two matchups this season and lost 117-112. Phoenix leads the regular-season series 1-0.

For the Nets, Kyrie Irving had 30 points and seven assists while Nic Claxton had 20 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks. Joe Harris and Seth Curry had 16 points each.

For the Suns, Mikal Bridges had 28 points and nine assists while Deandre Ayton had 24 points and 14 rebounds. Cameron Johnson had 19 points off the bench after missing two months with his knee injury and Damion Lee had 16 points.

This game was close in the first quarter as neither team played much defense, but the game turned into a blowout between the second and third quarters. Phoenix out-rebounded Brooklyn 49-34 as the Suns absolutely crushed the Nets on the glass. Ben Simmons was ejected in the third quarter after being called out for an illegal screen and was tossed after mouthing off to the ref.

Things turn on its head in the fourth quarter when Irving scored 21 points in the period to bring Brooklyn within single digits. In the end, it was too little too late as the Suns made free-throws to seal the game and escape with a win.

Here are your Nets player grades:

Ben Simmons: D

Simmons was aggressive shooting the ball in the early going, but, by the time he was ejected in the third quarter, he had shot the ball only four times. Simmons had trouble getting into a rhythm all night long in everything except passing the ball, which he did a great job doing. He was ejected in the third quarter after drawing his fifth foul and getting two technical fouls called on him in a matter of seconds. Simmons looked out of it all game.

Kyrie Irving: D+

Irving had a terrible game offensively until the fourth quarter. He could not buy a bucket all game long and did not look confident at any point in the game. In fact, it looked like he didn’t want to be there after awhile. He did a decent job rebounding and was great passing the ball, but other than that, Irving had a dud of a game for the spiraling Nets. Despite what he did in the fourth quarter, it goes to show that Irving did not come to play until the game was already decided.

Joe Harris: A

Harris was great shooting the ball all night long. For a guy who was enduring a shooting slump of his own, Harris turned it around in this game. He did a good job of rebounding and passing the ball as the Suns either closed out on him not hard enough or too hard and he was able to blow by his defender and make something happen.

Royce O'Neale: D

O’Neale had a rough night shooting the ball. He did a decent job rebounding and was able to find some of his teammates for good looks at the basket. As has been the case all season, O’Neale gets beat off the dribble a good amount and it hurts Brooklyn’s defense.

Nic Claxton: A

Claxton did a great job scoring the ball. He had a slow start thanks to some foul trouble, but once he fixed that, Claxton was on the floor long enough to take advantage of the Suns playing off him. He even scored on some post touches which is always welcome. Claxton did a great job rebounding the ball in the second half and he was once again awesome in protecting the rim.

TJ Warren: D-

Warren had a hard time shooting the ball all night long and seemed to never get a rhythm. Once Warren got into foul trouble, he never came back into the game.

Seth Curry: B+

Curry was great scoring the ball off the bench all night long. He was lights out from three and he was also able to work his mid-range game as he tends to do when he’s overplayed at the three-point line. He was solid in every other aspect of the game and his defense was passable for most of the night.

Yuta Watanabe: C-

Watanabe did a good job of helping the team rebound, but other than that, he didn’t do much else. He had a decent game on the defensive end, but there were some parts of the game that he did not make an impact. He did have a hard time staying in front of guys like Mikal Bridges and Saben Lee.

Cam Thomas: B+

Thomas was excellent scoring the ball of the bench for the second straight game. He did not play much in this game because after awhile, his shot selection got worse. But, he was great at getting to the basket and turning any pick that he received into either scoring and shooting free-throws.

Story originally appeared on Nets Wire