The action never stops in the NBA, and with a new year, there have already been some noteworthy events.
Here are four things that happened in the NBA this week.
1.) Kyrie Irving Returns
After missing the first few months of the season, Kyrie Irving stepped onto the court on Wednesday.
Irving finished the game with 22 points, four assists, three rebounds, three steals and a block. He sparked a run in the second half that led to the Nets beating the Pacers 129-121.
While Irving is still unable to play in home games, fans can finally see him in action in road games. And we aren’t the only ones excited for his return.
Irving’s teammate Kevin Durant talked about Irving’s performance and how happy he was to have him on the floor.
‘He didn’t act nervous, he has a nice poker face,” Durant said. ”He’s a quiet guy. He plays with energy and passion.”
The Nets’ next road game is on Monday against the Portland Trail Blazers. So, we’ll likely see Irving in action.
2.) NBA All-Star Fan Voting Returns
NBA All-Star voting continues, and already we see some of the fan favorites. The NBA released the first returns of All-Star voting.
LeBron James leads the West frontcourt with 2,018,725 votes. Steph Curry leads West guard votes with 2,584,623. Kevin Durant leads the East frontcourt votes with 2,360,435, and DeMar DeRozan leads East guards with 1,487,598.
If voting ended today, the West starters would be a frontcourt of LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Paul George, and a backcourt of Steph Curry and Luka Doncic.
For the East, the starters would be a frontcourt of Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, and a backcourt of DeMar DeRozan and James Harden.
Do the fans have it right? Or are we on the verge of snubs? Only time will tell.
3.) Kawhi Leonard Returning?
Kawhi Leonard has been out of action since the 2020-21 Western Conference semifinals. He suffered a partially torn right ACL and underwent surgery in July.
The Clippers started this season without Leonard, but that may not be the case much longer.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Leonard is “ahead of schedule” in his rehab. So there is a chance Leonard returns this season, and with Paul George’s recent elbow injury, the Clippers could use Leonard.
4.) Lance Stephenson Makes History
Lance Stephenson is trying to get back in the league. He was one of many former players to sign a 10-day contract during the NBA’s COVID-19 outbreak. He signed with the Atlanta Hawks, but once the contract was up, he joined the Indiana Pacers.
Stephenson started his career with the Pacers, and in his first game back in Indianapolis, he put on a show.
Stephenson came out hot. He scored 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including 4-of-5 from behind the arc, in 6:23 of first quarter playing time. He became the first player in recorded NBA history to score 20 first quarter points off the bench. He scored 30 points in this game, but the Nets went on to beat the Pacers.
2022 is off to a great start, and by the end of the NBA season, there’ll be more exciting things to come.