Kyrie Irving had some high praise for teammate Yuta Watanabe following the Brooklyn Nets' 112-98 victory against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.
Although Watanabe did not play the game (hamstring injury), Irving was very complimentary of the fifth-year NBA player.
"He's the best shooter in the world right now. Stats prove it. He's the best shooter in the best league in the world right now. We just want him to remain confident and shoot the opportunities that he gets out there.
"He makes the game a lot easier for us. We have guys that are willing to sacrifice their body night-to-night. We want to reward them, especially when they are shooting the ball well. "
What Kyrie Irving said about Watanabe is absolutely true. The Japanese player is shooting lights out from behind the 3-point arc this season. Watanabe has made 24 of his 42 3-point attempts, giving him 57.1% efficiency from downtown.
Watanabe's efficiency rate from the 3-point line is four percentage points better than the next-best 3-point shooter in the league this season (Josh Green, 52.9%).
Kyrie Irving powers Brooklyn Nets to easy victory against Toronto Raptors
The Brooklyn Nets came in for a significant amount of criticism for their listless performance against an undermanned Philadelphia 76ers team on Tuesday. Twenty-four hours later, the Nets answered their critics by registering a convincing win in Toronto.
After allowing the Raptors to make a comeback from a double-digit deficit at the end of the first quarter (38-26), the Nets carried only a single-point lead into the halftime break (52-51). However, with Kyrie Irving putting up a 19-point scoring blitz in the third quarter, the Nets outscored the Raptors 39-25 in the third period. The Nets did not allow the Raptors to mount a comeback from that point.
Irving finished with 29 points, shooting 68.8% from the field and making 5-of-8 (62.5%) long-range attempts. Teammate Ben Simmons had some good words to say about Irving's third-quarter heroics.
"Just being Kyrie. That's what we want him to do. Just be himself. Have that confidence to come out and take those shots and be who he is. He is an incredible player, incredible teammate. I'm glad he had a night like tonight."
Irving, however, stressed that his performance was a reaction to the criticism of his team following their subpar effort against Philadelphia. He said the team was "embarrassed" and wanted to pay "attention to detail" ahead of the Nets' clash against the Raptors.
"We're in the business for winning. We'll take this one, especially after last night's loss and the whole internet going up in an uproar in terms of how embarrassed we should be, which is true. We just wanted to make sure we paid attention to detail tonight and came out and responded."
The Nets finish their three-game road trip in Indiana on Friday.