See what the Brooklyn Nets had to say after their 108-86 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

KENNY ATKINSON

On lineups with Irving, LeVert back:

“I think it will take time – we are throwing lineups out there that we haven’t played a lot together. Wilson (Chandler) hasn’t played with certain guys across the board. The more reps we get, the more we can keep our rotation stable and guys can play with each other more. First time Spencer (Dinwiddie) and Kyrie (Irving) have started – that’s different. Caris (LeVert) off the bench – we’re just going to have to figure it all out, but it was a good start tonight, especially defensively. Offensively, we had our struggles, but a great defensive effort.”

On emotional impact of Irving’s return:

“Yeah, I felt it. I think the tough stretch we went through, I felt like our confidence was dinged up a little bit too. Obviously adding a player of his caliber helps your confidence – that’s everybody, that’s the coach, his teammates – we had a certain confidence about us tonight that I think we were missing during that streak. Great timing having him back.”

On offensive balance:

“It was beautiful. From the fast break to the play with the pass and the spacing. Let’s be honest, Kyrie’s a big part of that and his decision-making, he makes the right play, makes the right decisions. It’s not only scoring, yes he was 10-for-11, but the assists, and then the hockey assists. The ability to get downhill makes Joe’s job easier, JA’s job easier, makes everybody’s job easier. That was a big part of it.”

KYRIE IRVING

On what he learned about team while out:

“We just have a lot of teaching. We need a lot more teaching to be done, specifically for kind of our younger-year players where we’re just continuing to build what the Brooklyn Nets culture is. I think that’s still yet to be defined. We have a chance to define it with the guys in our locker room here. Obviously we play hard, but the culture here is, we want to be a championship level organization, and we want to be that for the next few years, that’s competing and when I’m done playing basketball that this culture here will still be consistent, and that’s what I’m after. That’s a long-term goal, but obviously it starts with being here for the guys, being present, being a leader out there, allowing guys to do their own thing but really show them how to work on their game and work on their mental aptitude, i.e. IQ. So we’ve just got to get there.”

On impact on team with return:

“I’m not gonna be petty here, but it’s been a lot of things said about what I bring to a locker room, the negative side of it. I’m just gonna continue to be me, and that’s what I’ve made my mark on, teaching guys, but as well as giving them positive encouragement when needed. Pulling guys to the side, making sure that we have some team outings, making sure that we’re collectively on the same page. You can see it out there when the team’s not on the same page, but for us, we understand we’re still a developing team and we’ve got to do the little things in order to get to that next level.”

On arriving early for games:

“I have a shoulder maintenance program at this point, so anything that doesn’t really mess up my routine, I’m sticking with it right now. I’m in the weight room doing what I need to do to prepare at a very high level and on my off days — there’s really no such thing as off days — just keep coming in an put my body in position to be great out there.”

TAUREAN PRINCE

On emotional lift from Kyrie Irving:

“It definitely helps a lot from an emotional standpoint because that’s one of our main leaders, but a lot of guys have stepped up to the plate. Coming into a situation where he was hurt or guys coming back-and- forth from the G League and other guys on the bench stepping up and playing, I think that’s what being a pro is about. Being ready for your opportunity and then also being a pro when that guy comes back to be able to dumb-down a little bit of what you maybe have done when he was out and still adapt to what we need to do to win games.”

On impression from Kyrie Irving’s performance:

“I mean, he is who he is. He’s missing all the games, but he’s not missing any days in the gym. He’s probably there before us, more than half the time, so that just shows you the preparation he puts in for himself. It also shows you that he cares about the organization and the team to be ready and able to put on a performance like this on his game back.”

On how it felt for team to be healthy and play well:

“It feels good, obviously being healthy and everybody being able to play with each other and build that chemistry – being the team we’re knowing we can be going into the second half of the season.”



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