Nets still adapting to part-time Kyrie Irving

Two nights after leading the Nets to an impressive come-from-behind victory over the Pacers, Kyrie Irving will be separated from his teammates again. He won’t play Friday night against the Bucks at Barclays Center and he won’t be available two days later at home against the Spurs.

This is their new normal. Until Irving gets vaccinated, or New York City’s COVID-19 policies change, he will be a part-time player who is only allowed to play road games (not including contests against the Raptors and Knicks). There will be two Nets teams: the one with Irving on the road and the one without him at home.

“It’s going to take some time [to get used to]. Just because we have to get used to him being on the road and not at home, things like that,” James Harden said. “But we’ve been a resilient group all year and [we’ll] eventually figure it out. Hopefully he’s able to play every single game. Home games and away games. But until then we’ll figure it out, we’ll keep pushing and find ways to come up with wins.”

Nets guard Kyrie Irving and James Harden

On Wednesday, after scoring 22 points in his 2021-22 debut, Irving didn’t offer any hints on his mindset regarding the vaccine or what it will take for him to get the shot.

Initially, the Nets weren’t going to let Irving be on the team until he complied with the city’s vaccine mandate, but they recently reversed course, enabling Irving to be a part-time part of the team.

In the first returns of fan voting for the All-Star Game, Kevin Durant leads all Eastern Conference players with 2,360,435 votes. He is second overall behind Stephen Curry of the Warriors (2,584,623) in total votes.

Harden is second, behind DeMar DeRozan of the Bulls, among guards in the Eastern Conference with 892,065 votes. Despite playing in just one game, Irving is sixth with 267,929 votes.

The fan vote accounts for 50 percent of the total vote to determine starters for the NBA All-Star Game. Players and media members split the other half of the vote. NBA coaches select the reserves. Two captains — the leading vote-getter from each conference — will pick from a pool of 22 players for the teams.

The Bucks will be missing Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton, George Hill and Jrue Holiday due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, along with the injured Donte DiVincenzo (ankle) and Brook Lopez (back). Friday night, they may get back Giannis Antetokounmpo. He missed Wednesday’s loss to the Raptors for a non-COVID-19 illness and is listed as probable.

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