Nassir Little defends diving play that frustrated Kyrie Irving

PORTLAND – After Kyrie Irving said Nassir Little’s dive near his legs was a “bad” and “unnecessary” play that caused his ankle injury, the Portland forward fired back.

Little implied Irving was “delusional” and said he’d make the same dive again.

“I would never hurt someone on purpose. I have the utmost respect for Kyrie! But y’all are delusional if you think this is a bad play, and id do it again,” Little tweeted Tuesday morning. “Idgaf what y’all talkin about.”

The play in question came with 5:54 left in Brooklyn’s 114-108 loss to the Trail Blazers.

Both players were running for a loose ball, and Irving got there first. Little, far behind and with almost no chance to get to the ball, dove.

Little outstretched his arm from behind Irving, crashing into the Nets guard’s left leg and sending him flying to the Moda Center court.

For his part, Irving said the play wasn’t dirty but just reckless. He added he’ll play Wednesday against the East-leading Bulls.

“I’ll be okay. It’s a bad one, just one of those bad plays, you know?” Irving said. “Yeah, I tried to get out of the way, but I just felt like it was unnecessary for him to dive that far away from the ball.

“I was just trying to get out the way. But just unnecessary play. I asked the refs, just, you’ve just got to protect our players out there. It’s just totally unnecessary. I get Nassir wants to go for the ball, but it’s like bro it’s just a bad play. It’s all good.”

Irving was down for some time before gingerly limping off the court and being attended to by Nets trainers on the bench. Eventually he had a long conversation with the officials about the play, before returning and finishing the game.

Kyrie Irving rolled his ankle on this diving play by Nassir Little
USA Today

When asked what explanation the referees gave for no foul being called, he said he did most of the talking.

“They were just listening. Listening. That’s it,” said Irving. “I was just like man, that’s just not a good play for basketball. I could’ve broke my ankle or done something worse. It’s just there’s no place in our game for it.

“But obviously I get the intent from Nassir, it’s nothing against him. It’s just it could have been avoided. You know, I’m trying to get out the way, he dives between my legs. I’m jumping out of the way at that point. I’m in the air and then I just twist my ankle. But it’s all good. We move on.”

Irving was confident he’ll be able to suit up Wednesday against the Bulls.

“I’ll be available for Chicago,” said Irving.

Nets coach Steve Nash was more noncommital.

“We’ll see. He’s all right. He finished the game. It was a pretty good little turn of the ankle,” said Nash, who wouldn’t comment on the play. “I didn’t see enough of it. I’d have to look at it again.”

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