Kyrie Irving says Brooklyn-Philly is definitely a rivalry – New York Daily News

PHILADELPHIA — Oh, it’s definitely a rivalry.

Joel Embiid and Nic Claxton were assessed double technical fouls jawing with one another after Claxton rejected Embiid at the rim.

Montrezl Harrell scored on Kyrie Irving on the low block and was assessed a technical foul after sending choice words his way.

“F–k Ben Simmons” chants rained down from the Wells Fargo Center crowd in his first game against Embiid since the blockbuster James Harden trade.

All the while, Kevin Durant did his best media impression, live-tweeting reactions to Nets plays while nursing an MCL sprain back in Brooklyn.

Kyrie Irving disagrees with those that downplay rivalry between his Nets and the 76ers.

At Tuesday’s Nets practice, Durant said there’s no rivalry between the Nets and Sixers, that rivalries aren’t a thing in the NBA because teams don’t repeatedly see each other in the playoffs.

Head coach Jacque Vaughn also downplayed the idea of ​​a rivalry between these two teams, saying the juice for the game more so comes from the Sixers being two games ahead of the Nets in the standings.

Wednesday’s matchup between two championship hopefuls, however, proves the opposite. There’s too much recent history between Philly and Brooklyn for this to be just another game.

“Well it is rivalry week, right? So whenever we have divisional games like that, I know it’s gonna be tough. And, you know, there is a bit of an edge,” Irving said postgame after tallying 30 points and 10 assists in Brooklyn’s 137-133 loss. “We’ve got guys that have been traded to our team, guys that feel like they kinda were put out there in the ethos of free agency.

“So we definitely have a chip on our shoulder and every time we go against Philly, there’s something there. It’s not anything outside of competition. It’s just when we get on the court, we definitely want to beat each other, and I love those type of environments, and when you come to Philly, we know what it’s gonna be: a lot of chirping, very physical, the refs could be going either which way and we’ve just got to adjust. So I’m grateful that we got this lesson tonight. It didn’t result in a W but a loss we can definitely learn from and get ready for tomorrow.”

Claxton suggested Embiid took exception to the no-call on his massive block at the rim.

“Let me see. I blocked his shot from him. I think he was upset there was no foul call. I said something to him. He told me to repeat it, I repeated it and he walked up on me,” he said. “I don’t know how I got a tech when I say one thing and I’m just sitting there standing. He walks up on me, I get a tech, but I take it so it’s a double tech.

“It’s just competition. Just having some fun. I know that’s how it really is.”

Seth Curry was one of the players who accompanied Ben Simmons in last season’s deal between Philly and Brooklyn. He scored a season-high 32 points against his former team on Wednesday.

“Making plays, trying to be aggressive, getting the ball in my hands a bit, trying to play some pick-and-roll, moving off the ball,” he said. “Teammates set me up a couple of times but just going out there trying to find good shots and do what I do.”

Curry admitted there was extra sauce added playing against his old team.

“It’s just a good environment in here,” he said. “Good fans, obviously a really good team, so just a little bit more emotion when you’re playing in an arena like this with good energy, good fans, I mean it was a big time game tonight.”

Curry just finished a unique stretch of games against family members. He played against his brother Stephen in Brooklyn’s victory against the Golden State Warriors. He played against his father-in-law, Doc Rivers, in Wednesday’s matchup against the 76ers. He also played against his brother-in-law, Damion Lee, who is married to his sister Sydel, in Brooklyn’s loss to the Phoenix Suns.

“It’s been a pretty good stretch like you said. For the most part Steph and Damion have been on the same team, and I’ve been on a team with Doc,” he said. “[I] only play them twice a year so it’s a good little stretch and it feels good to get two wins.

“Or we got one.”

Irving says he’s “optimistic” WNBA players will be able to fly charter for the 2023 season.

Irving, who is a Vice President of the National Basketball Player’s Association, said the time is now for the NBA to create a more sustainable environment for WNBA athletes to compete at a high level.

Under current rules, WNBA players are not allowed to fly charters and franchises are penalized if they don’t comply.

“We’ve discussed a range of these things, and I wish it was as easy as getting it tomorrow, but business takes a little bit of patience,” Irving said following Brooklyn’s loss to the 76ers on Wednesday. “Our W ladies have been patient long enough, so we’ve definitely gotta get something done, and I’m with them no matter how much it costs. I think we could all collectively come together and make something very doable happen, and we just want to have our ladies have peace of mind while they’re playing.”

Irving also suggested there may be something in the works to increase WNBA salaries. In 2022, the league’s average player salary was $102,751. As a result, many WNBA athletes play basketball overseas during the offseason.

“They don’t need to be overseas all the time. They need to be here playing in front of their families every single day doing what we do,” he said. “So I think it’s a lesson learned right now of how we can attack this as a family because the W and the NBA, we’re a family. And I think things will be figured out before the season gets started. I’m very optimistic about that.”

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