Fasting during Ramadan "took a toll out of" Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving last season, according to ex-New Jersey high school legend Tim Thomas.AP
Tim Thomas, the ex-NBA forward and former Paterson Catholic High School star, believes that part of the reason the Nets were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics was because Kyrie Irving was fasting during Ramadan.
During the month of Ramadan, many Muslims engage in fasting from sunrise to sundown. The timing of Ramadan is dependent on the lunar calendar, and this year it was from April 1 to May 1 — which happened to coincide with the start of the NBA playoffs.
“Kyrie did a great job of maintaining his skill set; obviously he was in decent shape but it just wasn’t enough and obviously fasting during Ramadan, that took a lot out of him as well,” Thomas, who is close with Irving and attended a Seton Hall game with him
Kyrie Irving and Tim Thomas at the @SetonHallMBB game last night, while the Nets played in Orlando
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In the five games during April Irving played at the end of the regular season, he played at a high level, scoring 31, 42, 24, 18 and 35 points.
In the first game against Boston in the postseason, Irving went for 39 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds in a 115-114 loss. But in the next three games of the series, he shot 4-of-13 for 10 points, 6-of-17 for 16 and 6-of-13 for 20. During Game 2, Irving reportedly broke his fast and ate a banana at halftime.
Irving ended up playing 29 regular-season games due to his decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
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Irving conceded in a recent interview he has done some “quirky s**t.”
“I have been through a lot more than I could probably speak here on in five minutes or 10 minutes,” Irving told The Shop: Uninterrupted. “I don’t use it as baggage that I like to carry around with me. My istory is my history. I’ve done some quirky s**t in public and some quirky s**t behind the scenes and I’ve dealt with the vilification of that.”
With Irving and Kevin Durant ready to run it back after a summer of drama in which it appeared either or both superstar could get traded, Thomas believes the sky is the limit for the Nets, who are among the betting favorites to win the NBA title despite everything that transpired in recent months. Training camp opens Sept. 27.
“But that whole Nets situation, I think that they need to just stick together for a year and just try to figure it out rather than abandon ship so early,” Thomas said. “I think with [Irving] and KD that’s enough firepower to at least get them to the NBA Finals or at least, to the Eastern Conference Finals.”
Ben Simmons is also expected to form a “Big 3″ with Durant and Irving after missing all of last season due to mental health and back issues.
Thomas believes that’s a recipe for success.
“Yeah, it can be,” he said. “Ben is a great defensive player, right? He’s 6′9″ – 6′10″ so he can help rebound and push and handle the basketball obviously, being a point guard at his size; but I think overall they [the Nets] have some nice pieces overall to be able to get things done.
“And with Ben, I think he just needs to focus on his game in the summertime and just start working on it because the older you get, you’re gonna lose some of those capabilities that were in your game as a youngster — and you’re gonna need that jump shot and things of that nature so, it’ll come around. But I think with a healthy Ben and two scorers on each side, anything’s possible with that team.”
NETS OFFICIALLY SIGN MARKIEFF MORRIS
The Nets announced Wednesday they have signed free agent forward Markieff Morris, news which was first reported last month.
The 6-foot-9 Morris will provided added depth in the front court. He has appeared in 715 games across 11 seasons with Miami (2021-22), L.A. Lakers (2020-21), Detroit (2019-20), Oklahoma City (2019), Washington (2016-19) and Phoenix (2011-16), averaging 10.9 points 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists.
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Adam Zagoria is a freelance reporter who covers Seton Hall and NJ college basketball for NJ Advance Media. You may follow him on Twitter @AdamZagoria and check out his Website at ZAGSBLOG.com.
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