Kyrie Irving breaks out for 30 points, but is still finding his way back to form

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When Nets head coach Steve Nash was reminded by reporters that Wednesday night marked just two weeks since Kyrie Irving made his season debut, he was delightfully stunned.

“Is that it? Two weeks?” Nash said with a smile. “That’s crazy.”

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Perhaps Nash’s satisfying disbelief comes from the comfort level that Irving showed on the floor in Wednesday’s win over the Wizards, scoring a team-high and season-high 30 points while shooting 56.5 percent from the field, helping Brooklyn overcome the absence of Kevin Durant.

“Just learning on the fly,” Irving said. “That’s the whole league right now. Guys are getting their opportunity to prove themselves. You have some high-level teams out there just making adjustments. It’s a race to the finish line at this point.”

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Irving has been trying to find his stride after joining in the middle of the race, making his season debut on Jan. 5 while still sitting out games at a time due to his vaccination status. But after scoring 27 points and shooting 52.2 percent from the field in a loss to Cleveland on Monday, Irving continued that momentum with arguably his best game yet on Wednesday, when the Nets needed every bit of that effort.

“What a pleasure to coach him and have him on our team for road games,” Nash said. “He’s such an electric player and such a talent. To add him to our team makes us better.”

Still, Irving believes he has a ways to go before he is back to his normal self. He will gauge that by his play down the stretch, when his conditioning and strength are put to the test. On Wednesday night, Irving shot just 4-for-11 from the floor and scored eight points in the second half, a drastic decline from his output over the first two quarters of play. But given where he is after just two weeks, there is plenty of reason to believe Irving can be back to his star level by the time the playoffs roll around, when Brooklyn can only hope circumstances will change to allow Irving to play in Brooklyn.

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Until then, Irving will continue to try and put together a full 48 minutes.

“Being in this game for two weeks now feels great, but I’ll feel a lot better when I put two solid halves together and playing at a high level…and not getting into that fourth quarter and a few shots are short,” Irving said. “I think my first two shots in the fourth quarter were airballs.

“Just trying to put two solid halves together at this point. I think once I do that, I’ll feel a lot more complete.”

Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1

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